Chile's Rescued Miners, The Day After
MARY LOUISE KELLY, Host:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Mary Louise Kelly.
MELISSA BLOCK, Host:
And I'm Melissa Block.
Today, two of the 33 rescued Chilean miners were released from the hospital to go home to their families. Their 22-hour rescue operation captivated the country and the world.
Reporter Annie Murphy has been following the story for us. She joins us from Copiapo.
And, Annie, you were at the hospital today where the miners have been treated. How have they been doing?
ANNIE MURPHY: For the most part, the men are doing very well. The government doctors are actually quite surprised how well they've been doing. At the same time, there are some men who have had some issues. Three of the men had dental problems. Another man had an eye issue. Another miner was suffering from pneumonia. And then, the youngest of the miners had had a particularly hard time dealing with the stress of coming out of the mine and also being down there. And so, his psychological state is being monitored, in particular.
But for the most part, these men are doing very well. And, in fact, I actually saw one of the miners get wheeled out, Franklin Lobos, who was the former soccer star. And he wasn't even wearing his sunglasses. He came out very briefly, but he looked very well. He was smiling, and he'd taken off his dark sunglasses. So they really do seem to be doing quite well.
BLOCK: Annie, the miners, of course, have gotten a ton of attention. They've also been, I gathered, getting gifts and offers. What are you hearing about their future?
MURPHY: You know, there's just been an outpouring of interests for these miners. And in terms of what they're going to do next, you know, the men already made this pact underground that they don't want to have to work again if they can avoid it. And they definitely don't have to work in mining again, obviously.
So they have this pact to share any profits that they get. And people have made offers from all over the world - trips, employment opportunities, all kinds of things, movie offers, book deals, things like that. So they have a lot of interests.
And then there's also a Chilean millionaire who set up these accounts for the men while they were still underground. He deposited about $10,000 in each of these accounts and then opened it up so that businesses could continue contributing. The amount that is currently in each account has not been made public, but these men do have these bank accounts open.
And then there's also lawsuits that their families are bringing against the mining company as well as the Chilean government.
BLOCK: Yeah, tell us more about that, Annie.
MURPHY: While these men were underground, families of, I believe, the 27 miners started these lawsuits against the San Esteban Mining Company and the Chilean government. The mine was unsafe. There is no escape route in the mine, which is part of why they were stuck down there. And government regulators had actually closed down the mine because it was considered unsafe a few years ago. And then they reopened it, and reportedly, conditions hadn't changed.
A lot of the miners' wives that I talked to while I was there said that their husbands were increasingly worried about an accident in the weeks before they were trapped. So this mine was really - it seems like the conditions were very unsafe. And the families feel that that was a responsibility of the company, as well as the Chilean government, to regulate it.
So this lawsuit is being pushed forward now.
BLOCK: And President Pinera has said that this mine, at least, will not open again.
MURPHY: That's correct. He made a statement this morning, saying that this mine will not operation again.
BLOCK: Well, Annie, what is the mood like there the day after in Copiapo? Is the celebration ongoing?
MURPHY: It's very festive. It's pretty laid-back. You know, it's a very sunny, breezy day. Everyone is out in the street. There's a lot of music going on. People just, you know, kind of out celebrating with their families. And I think that mood extends over the whole country. In Santiago, last night, there were a lot of celebrations going on. In the different cities where these miners came from, people were out in the town plazas celebrating as well.
BLOCK: Okay, Annie Murphy with us from Copiapo. Thanks very much, Annie.
MURPHY: Sure, thank you.