The ongoing rescue of the 33 Chilean miners who have been trapped underground since August has captured the imagination of the world.
In a media climate transfixed by an unending diet of bad news, their flight to freedom is a genuinely heartwarming story. But how much do you know about the miners and their extraordinary plight?
Here are some fascinating facts about their unforgettable struggle.
1. The miners have been trapped 2,300ft underground since August 5, when the San Jose copper-gold mine collapsed. They have survived for 69 days – more than double the amount of time for any other known survivor of a mining disaster.
2. The temperature below the ground has remained a sweltering 33 degrees Celsius. It’s thought the miners will have lost up to 10kg while underground.
3. The miners were found to be alive on August 22. They had survived on handfuls of tuna and a glass of milk every 48 hours before food could reach them.
4. A team from US space agency Nasa assisted Chilean officials in keeping the miners healthy. On September 2, the miners received their first hot meal.
5. Spirits have been kept high by installing a TV in the mine. Among the films the miners have watched is Jim Carrey’s The Mask. Spanish footballer David Villa donated two signed jerseys to the miners too. The Barcelona striker comes from a mining family.
6. Inevitable celebrity status awaits the miners and psychologists are to assist in giving the miners the necessary media training to help the miners adjust to their new found fame.
7. Nearly 1,200 job offers have come in for the miners. None of which involve working underground. Offers to endorse a variety of products await the miners. Some are predictable – beer and mining equipment; some are bizarre – sex-aid vitamins.
8. Miner Ariel Ticona’s wife gave birth to a daughter on September 14. The birth was filmed so Ariel could watch it after he was rescued. Their daughter was to be named Carolina. However, following his ordeal a message was relayed to his wife Elizabeth to name her Esperanza, Spanish for hope.
9. The rescue capsule that has been hoisting the miners to safety has been called Phoenix. The Chilean mining minister said this was because the capsule would bring about a rebirth for the miners.
10. The miners have drafted in legal specialists to draw up a contract that ensures all will profit equally from the inevitable media deals – films, book deals and the like – that await their return. Some TV companies are offering up to £250,000 to each miner for his incredible story.