Profiles Of The 33 Chilean Miners

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In the coming days, we'll be hearing more about the miners who spent more than two months underground. NPR's Melissa Block and Mary Louise Kelly share a few details about their lives.


In the coming weeks and months, we're sure to learn much more about the miners. We already know some details about their personal stories and their personalities.


At 63, Mario Gomez is the oldest in the group. He started mining when he was just 12. Once he was out of the rescue capsule, Gomez dropped to his knees to pray. He was clutching the Chilean flag.

KELLY: Juan Illanes was a soldier before becoming a miner. He said the journey to the surface was like a cruise. He is credited with helping to maintain discipline among the trapped miners.

BLOCK: Victor Zamora turned 34 while he was underground. He's become known as the poet for compositions he would send up, including this one...

(Reading) Under the earth, there is a ray of light, my path, and faith is the last thing that is lost. I've been born again.

Zamora has a 5-year-old son and a daughter on the way.

KELLY: Ariel Ticona's wife gave birth just two months ago. Ticona was able to watch the birth via video link. The couple named their daughter Esperanza, the Spanish word for hope. He was one of the last of the 33 miners to emerge.

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