NPR logo The Scene At The Chilean Mine: Electric


The Scene At The Chilean Mine: Electric

Relatives of miner Carlos Barrios react while he is brought to surface from the San Jose mine, near Copiapo, Chile, on October 13, 2010. HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images)/Getty hide caption

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HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images)/Getty

Annie Murphy, the reporter covering the dramatic rescue at the Chilean mine is a busy woman, but had a few minutes to come to the phone and do a quick interview.

Q: Describe the scene?

We're in the middle of the desert. There are rolling dun colored hills, a robin's egg blue sky, and a huge tent city. The mine actually looks small compared to the tent city. It is just a couple of cranes and a hole in the ground, but there are hundreds, if not a thousand tents. And all that comes with that, trucks and trailers and campers and vans and satellite dishes. Access to the mine is actually fairly restricted, just members of the families and the press, but there are still a lot of people.

Q: As the number of people rescued continues to go up, are people still enthused?

Chilean miner Jorge Galleguillos (C) upon exiting the Fenix capsule after being brought to the surface in the eleventh place. RODRIGO ARANGUA/AFP/Getty Images/AFP hide caption

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It was really electric in the morning, and with the first handful who came out is was almost magical, partly because it was happening at night. It's not exactly the same now, but people are still very excited and cheering every time someone comes up.

Q: Are they still on track for tomorrow morning?

They are, they're going quite fast and may actually finish early.

Q: How has the nation of Chile reacted, beyond the camp?

It is all anyone has been talking about for days. People are pegged to the story watching every development on T.V., it's the only topic of conversation. Last weekend I had lunch with some Chilean friends and it was the only thing people were talking about, people are really rallying behind it. But there has been some sharp criticism of the government. The government wasn't all that popular before the rescue and people are saying that they are taking advantage of the situation to spin their image.