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A relative of one of the 33 trapped miners lights candles next to Chilean flags outside the collapsed mine. AP Photo/ Roberto Candia
Trapped Miners

Families of trapped miners told to keep it upbeat

Relatives are asked to help keep trapped men optimistic, as they may be in Chilean mine for four months.

THE FAMILIES OF TRAPPED chilean miners have been asked to keep their letters to the trapped men optimistic, and not to dwell on the length of time a rescue may take.

On Sunday, the 33 men passed a message from their refuge to the surface saying they were safe and well, despite being trapped below ground for 17 days after a tunnel collapse at the main entrance on 5 August.

Competitive games have been ruled out as a means of keeping the men occupied while the rescue attempt rolls on, as psychologists say it’s important for the group to function as one unit.

Chile’s health minister Jaime Manalich said yesterday that it was important to keep the men informed of the rescue process and the weeks it may take, but experts have asked the families of the miners to stay upbeat in their communications.

Microphones allowing doctors and psychologists to speak to the men and keep them in stable conditions will be passed into the mine.

The men said they have been surviving on mouthfuls of tuna and milk since their confinement.

Rescuers began passing packages containing food, water, and medical supplies down to the trapped men yesterday, and plan to start including letters from relatives in the survival packages.

Lilianett Ramirez, wife of one of the miners, said yesterday:

Can you imagine? After 30 years of marriage we will start sending each other love letters again.