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Chilean Government Releases Video Footage Of 33 Trapped Miners

Relatives watch on a large screen a vide

Relatives watch on a video of the miners still trapped inside the San Esteban company's San Jose gold and copper mine. Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images

The Chilean government has released a remarkable video of 33 miners, trapped in a collapsed mine shaft, awaiting rescue.

In footage distributed by The Associated Press, many of the men are bearded and shirtless, wearing safety helmets. Some of them are playing dominoes and cards. At one point, they all applaud. After they sing the national anthem, the miners chant. A few men deliver greetings to loved ones.

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According to The Guardian, "the men shot the video with a camera sent down to them through a small shaft drilled to their emergency shelter in the San Jose mine."

The camera was sent down through a borehole used for communications. Another small hole that snakes down to the men's shelter is used for lowering food, while a third provides ventilation.

In The New York Times yesterday, foreign correspondent Alexei Barrionuevo details the Chilean response to the mining disaster, which a landslide caused three weeks ago.

Officials have consulted psychologists and NASA scientists. They've lowered an entertainment system into the mine. They've even sent nicotine gum down the bore hole, to pacify miners who smoke.

The federal government may be doing a lot, but the owner of the mine has done precious little, The Guardian reports:

What the men may not know is that the mining company that hired them is doing nothing to help the rescue attempt. The San Esteban company says it cannot afford to pay their wages and may go bankrupt.

San Esteban is in such bad shape that it has neither the equipment nor the money to rescue the men. The escape tunnel, which will cost about £1.1 million ($1.7 million), will instead be drilled by Chile's state-owned mining company.

Earlier this week, San Esteban lawyers said that with the mine shut down the company was at risk of bankruptcy.

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