Chile: Miners Talk about Tragedy

Chile: Miners Talk about TragedySantiago de Chile, Oct. 21. -Chilean Public Ministry authorities will hear on Wednesday from some of the rescued miners from the San Jose mine in the Atacama Desert, as part of a lawsuit against the owners of that mine.

The Atacama region government attorney, Hector Mella, confirmed the start of questioning of the miners, to clarify the causes of the August 5 collapse of the San Jose mine that trapped 32 Chileans and a Bolivian for 70 days.

On Tuesday, miner Juan Illanes said that some of the 33 miners warned the mine owners about unusual sounds inside the tunnel just three hours before the collapse, but the owners disregarded their warning.

Illanes accused Operations Manager Carlos Pinilla of preventing the miners from coming up to the surface.

According to Omar Gallardo, an academic with the Mine Engineering Department of Santiago de Chile University, the accident that trapped the 33 miners underground could have been avoided.

Gallardo said that in the case of such anomalies, the person in charge of the mine must order an evacuation immediately.

Thirty-five Chilean miners have died so far this year due to safety problems in this sector. (Prensa Latina)