Chile Sant Jose Mine Accident

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Chile Sant Jose Mine Accident

2010 Chile San Jose Mine Accident Salvation After 69 Days

San Jose golden and copper mine is a 121-year old mine, which is located in Chile at Atacama Desert [1]. San Esteban Mining Company runs this mine and gives the highest salary (20% more) among the South America’s mines in order to attract miners [4]. Eight day before the mining accident, mine has just been opened, it was closed earlier because of its unhealthy conditions [4]. Primary reason of the accident is downfall of huge rock which closed the exit path of 33 miners who were 700m below the ground.

"We are well in the shelter, the 33 of us"

After recognizing the severity of the accident two experienced miners who are shift supervisor collect others in safe room called “refuge” in order to plan long time survival [1]. Percussion drills were used to detect place of miners. In the 17th day of rescue opearion, an attached note written “We are well in the shelter the 33” was recognized on the tip of the drill [1]. "These words became the slogan of the miners' survival and the rescue effort" [1]. "Hours later, video cameras sent down to made contact" [1].

"Rescue Team: Mission Accomplished Chile!"

In “refuge” food supplies were so limited that each miner had lost an average of 8 kilograms on the 17th day of the accident [1]. It was taking an hour to deliver food or letters of relatives to the miners [1]. During rescue operation, families and relatives at first stayed in cars, but then since "days turned into weeks", they create “Hope Camp” from tents [1]. Before the rescue day, miners were divided into three groups called skilled, weak and strong and rescued considering this order [1]. The leaders of the miners left the mine last. On the 69th and last day of the rescue operation, there were 1400 journalist and millions of people’s attention was on the San Jose Mine.

Victims were given 15 thousand dollars [2] after the rescue as a compensation, however miners sue national geology and mine services in order to get more than 500 thousand dollars [2]. After three years investigation mine owners hadn’t been found guilty [3]. Since worldwide attention finished, miners said that most of them are unemployed and many are poorer than before [2]. Currently only 4 miners returned to the mine again, but 16 of them said that they wanted to return mines. They reported that no one wants to hire them again as a miner [2]. Two of them are selling fruits and vegetables today [2]. One of the miners (leaders of the 33) started a company to give motivational speeches. "9 of them receives sick-leave pay for their prolonged post-traumatic stress", while only 14 of them ("the oldest and those with the most serious physical problems") are taking $500 monthly pension from the government [2]. Miners are trusting on a Hollywood movie about them to be their economic rescuer and long-awaited publication of their book, Deep Down Dark [5].

"33 Miners' Photos"

"First Photos"

"Hope Camp near San Jose Mine"


[2] NY Times (2011, October 12). A Year Out of the Dark in Chile, but Still Trapped. Available:'_r=0

[1] Wikipedia (2014, November 30). 2010 Copiapó mining accident. Available:

[3] NY Times (2013, August 1). Inquiry on Mine Collapse in Chile Ends With No Charges. Available:http

[4] Wikipedia (2013, August 20). Compañía Minera San Esteban Primera Available:

[5] The Telgraph (2014, October 4). Chile miners publish their story: 'Getting out alive was just the beginning' Available:


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