Video shows Chile's trapped miners in good spirits

Excerpts of the 45-minute video yesterday showed the men upbeat despite their 21-day ordeal in a hot and dank underground shelter.

"We've organised everything really well down here," said one of the miners, sporting a scraggly beard and pointing to a corner reserved for medical supplies.

"This is where we entertain ourselves, where we have a meeting every day, where we make plans. This is where we pray," he added in a video aired on Chilean television after it was shown to families of the 33 miners.

About a dozen other miners waved at the mini-camera, which was lowered earlier 700 metres below the surface via one of the metal capsules that have been ferrying supplies to them since on Sunday.

On Monday, the first brief, shadowy images of a miner's face and some mining lamps were sent from a rudimentary camera initially lowered to the shelter.

San Esteban Mining, the owner of the gold and copper shaft in northern Chile, was ordered yesterday by a local judge to freeze USD 1.8 million in revenue so that it can pay future compensation to 26 of the families of the trapped miners.

The litigation against the mining company swirled as officials became increasingly concerned about the mental wellbeing of the miners awaiting a months-long rescue.
Experts say the process of digging a rescue shaft to the emergency shelter where the men are holed up will take up to four months to complete.

Some of the men were already exhibiting psychological "problems," Chilean Health Minister Jaime Manalich told CNN.

They were having trouble sleeping and were becoming increasingly anxious and irritable after being cramped in the confined space for so long, he said.

The men have been told that their rescue would take a long time, certainly more than two months, but were not given engineers' estimates that it could be twice that long.
Officials were carefully watching for any negative reaction to the news.

Rescuers also said nine of the men were "too fat" to fit through the 66-centimetre diameter escape shaft that would eventually reach them, according to CNN.

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