Sunday 4 December 2016

Trapped miners are denied cigarettes and alcohol

Nick Allen in Los Angeles

Published 02/09/2010 | 05:00

REQUESTS for alcohol and cigarettes by the trapped Chilean miners have been refused. They have been given nicotine patches instead.

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The 33 men asked for wine and cigarettes to help them cope with their ordeal, but were told they would have to endure what is expected to be several months underground without strong drink or a smoke.

James Michael Duncan, NASA's deputy chief doctor, who has flown with a team of medical experts to Chile, said: "From the alcohol standpoint, we need to first get their nutrition up before we make any considerations there."

The miners, who have lost about 22lb each, will have to make do with high-protein, high-calorie foods delivered to them in narrow plastic tubes.

Of the cigarette request, Dr Duncan said: "It's an environment that's pretty enclosed and we don't want to contribute to any of the problems within the atmosphere of the mine."

According to one Chilean health official, some of the miners were "large consumers" of alcohol, and it was not advisable to cut off drinking. But Javier Diaz, head of a medical team treating them, said: "Miners do not drink more or less alcohol than the average Chilean."

The Chilean government released a new video of the miners smiling, shaved and listening to music. It was a stark contrast to a previous video showing them haggard, mud-caked and bare-chested.

The miners have been stuck 2,300ft down the San Jose mine in the Atacama Desert since August 5. If the drilling of a rescue bore goes as planned, the men will face squeezing into a tubular cage for three hours as they are pulled to the surface one by one.

Dr Duncan praised the miners' courage and said: "What we want to try to avoid is any kind of situation of hopelessness on the part of the miners." (© The Daily Telegraph)

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