Fist Fights, Hunger: Miners Shed Light on Life Below

Democracy ruled, says foreman; others cite depression
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 15, 2010 7:50 AM CDT
Fist Fights, Hunger: Miners Shed Light on Life Below
A man holds a placard with the Chilean flag surrounded by pictures of the 33 miners who were rescued from the San Jose mine, outside the hospital in Copiapo, Chile, Oct. 14, 2010.   (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)

Majority rule was key to the survival of the trapped Chilean miners, their foreman told the Guardian in one of the first accounts of their two months spent trapped underground. “Everything was voted on,” said Luis Urzúa from a hospital bed. “You just have to speak the truth and believe in democracy.” But while the official story that initially emerged described a close bond among the workers, some offer harrowing details, especially from those first 17 days before they were found.

“We were waiting for death. We were consuming ourselves–we were so skinny,” miner Richard Villaroel said separately. The daily ration was half a spoonful of fish. Before contact was made with the outside world, some refused to get out of bed. Meanwhile, two distinct groups formed, and there were apparently fist fights. But the world may never know all that happened thanks to a “blood pact” of secrecy made among the men—though that pact will likely be tested quite soon. It apparently also states that "Los 33" will pool and share any money made from interviews, book royalties, and the like.
(Read more Chilean miners stories.)

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