Wednesday 21 November 2018

Don't lose faith or hope, says Chile mine survivor

The trapped children were recorded on video swaddled in hypothermia blankets but looked in good spirits
The trapped children were recorded on video swaddled in hypothermia blankets but looked in good spirits

Hannah Strange

One of the 33 Chilean miners rescued after 70 days underground in 2010 says the trapped Thai schoolchildren can survive by staying positive.

"Do not lose faith or hope," said Juan Carlos Aguilar, one of the supervisors in the group buried alive by the collapse in the San José mine.

Mr Aguilar said it was a "miracle" the football team had been found unharmed.

With the 12 boys and their coach potentially facing months underground before they can be rescued, the veteran miner said that keeping each other in good spirits and united was of the greatest importance.

Like the young footballers, the 33 miners spent a long period - in their case 17 days - cut off from the outside world before making contact with rescuers.

Mr Aguilar said that now the team had been found, they would get water and food to keep them physically nourished. He warned they also needed psychological support because trauma of their experience posed the main danger.

At the San José mine, a psychologist monitored the mental states of the group by talking to them on video calls. The families of the miners also took up temporary residence, setting up what became known as "Camp Hope", and were also able to talk to them - a contact Mr Aguilar said was indispensable.

"To know that we had our families there above us, this was very helpful - it sustains you," Mr Aguilar said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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