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Rescued miners honoured at presidential palace in Santiago

Monday, October 25th 2010 - 21:07 UTC
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The ceremony had the miners dressed in crisp dark business suits 
The ceremony had the miners dressed in crisp dark business suits
Pte. Piñera and miners after the soccer game Pte. Piñera and miners after the soccer game

The 33 miners saved from underground hell in Chile have been honored as heroes at the presidential palace, but have lost out at soccer against a team of rescuers captained by President Sebastian Piñera.

Decked out in crisp dark business suits, the men received a medal on Monday marking Chile's independence bicentennial - while they were trapped underground - and a replica of the Phoenix capsule that hoisted to them freedom October 13.

The workers, ranging in age from 19 to 63, were trapped for a record 69 days in the San Jose mine and lived for the first 17 days before their discovery off just a tiny spoonful of tinned tuna or salmon each day.

Their dramatic rebirth, pulled painstakingly out of the mine one-by-one by equally heroic rescuers who risked life and limb to get them out, captured the world's attention and made them a media sensation.

Piñera gave a Chilean flag to the 32 Chilean miners and a Bolivian flag to Carlos Mamani, the only foreigner in the group. The flags were handed out in the same order the men made it up to the surface.

“We are never going to leave behind another Chilean,” said Piñera, “because we have learned our lesson”.

The president said he would soon be announcing new measures to improve protection for miners and other workers. He did not provide more details. Piñera also led the squad of officials and rescue workers in the football friendly at Santiago's National Stadium.

The match, organized by the government as part of the tribute fun, involved 16 players rotated in and out. Both teams, the rescue workers and officials in red, the miners in white, had the number 33 emblazoned on the backs of their jerseys to honor the survival feat. But the miners did not emerge victorious on the pitch.

“We agreed that whichever side won got to go back to the presidential palace, and that the losing side had to go back to the bottom of the mine. So now we have to go back there and rescue these guys again,” the victorious Piñera joked.

 

Categories: Politics, International.
Tags: Chile, miners.

Top Comments

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  • briton

    why is pinera trying to grap the limelight.
    This should be for the miners only, not him ??

    Oct 25th, 2010 - 09:21 pm 0
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