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Dublin: 16 °C Thursday 23 May, 2019
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Chile looks to the skies to keep its miners safe

Authorities ask NASA for tips on how to keep the 33 miners amused while they wait for rescue.

Image: PA

AUTHORITIES IN SANTIAGO, CHILE have contacted NASA seeking their advice on how to keep the 33 trapped miners amused while the painstaking excavation process to get them back to the surface begins.

The 33 miners (pictured) were feared dead until they managed to send a message to the surface confirming that they were all alive and well, despite being trapped 688m below earth since a cave-in three weeks ago.

But now – with it being a potential four months before the men could see the full light of day – NASA and the country’s submarine crews are being consulted on how to keep the men amused.

“Psychologically speaking we have to try to keep them on the right track and not give them false hope that it will be a short rescue,” said the country’s mining minister Laurence Golborne.

Golborne’s attitude is backed up by former astronaut Jerry Linenger. “The biggest mistake you could make right now is over-promising.”

Linenger, who was aboard the Mir space station where there was a fire on board in 1997, said: “In my case, knowing that the space shuttle was coming in three months was enough. Psychologically, you need to know the end point.

“The key is to not say it’s going to take two months when it’s going to take four. You can adjust yourself to the long haul as long as you don’t have to make the adjustment twice. You only have so much reserve.”

The government intends to send the trapped men some playing cards, board games and dominoes to help them pass the time, and will send down some lighting which will mimic the sensations of night and day.

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Gavan Reilly

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