Sunday, the trapped Chilean miners were sent a message of hope from President Sebastian Piñera and famed writer Isabel Allende. The message comes after the news that the miners may be out within a few weeks, instead of an additional few months as originally thought.
Piñera said, ‘This is my fifth visit. I hope the next one will be to embrace the 33 miners as president and in the name of each and every Chilean citizen.’ ‘The miners were steadfast, they stayed united and fought for their lives,” Piñera said with admiration.
The president traveled to the mine site with writer Isabel Allende who was recently awarded the National Literature Prize. About a month and a half ago, Isabel expressed her wish to visit the trapped men. ‘I’m coming from overseas, and on all the TV screens in the world are the faces of the 33 miners and the name of Chile,’ she said.
Allende shared that she receives messages each day from people concerned about the miners. ‘They Pray for them, they send them messages of encouragement and also send messages of gratitude to the people who are there working tirelessly night and day to rescue their fellow workers. That for me is very moving.’ Besides books, the author also brought 33 t-shirts used by swimmers who recently swam across the San Francisco Bay to Alcatraz Island. One of the swimmers was her son.
Over video chat with the miners, President Piñera and Allende sent messages of encouragement, hope, and patriotism.
On August 5th, when a landslide caused a tunnel to collapse several hundred feet above them, the miners were trapped, but they managed to survive by taking refuge in a large underground shelter. Rescuers made contact on Aug. 22 with the trapped miners, who have been receiving food, water, medical supplies and extra oxygen via small bore holes. A larger shaft that is to be used to bring the men to the surface has reached the area where they are trapped but must still be widened, a process expected to take several weeks.