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Rescued Chile miners show strains of media frenzy
Mon, Oct 18, 2010
AFP

COPIAPO, Chile - Chile's rescued miners began showing strains Sunday from the media frenzy over their spectacular tale of survival, with some apparently adhering to a "pact of silence" over the ordeal.

At a ceremony at the "Camp Hope" outside the mine, some of survivors showed irritation with the media swarming to cover the aftermath of the miners' extraordinary rescue after nearly 70 days deep underground.

The media attention was intense as the mining heroes returned to the scene of their record-breaking survival for an emotional celebratory mass.

Thirteen survivors, accompanied by partners and children, took part in a private service after visiting the tent city where relatives refused to give up hope, waiting anxiously for 10 long weeks for their safe return.

At least three miners contacted by AFP confirmed that there is an agreement of silence, but only about the first 17 days of their ordeal, when many people thought they were dead.

"We will not talk about the first 17 days until the investigation (into the mine collapse) is complete," said Carlos Bugueno, one of the rescued workers.

But fellow miner Omar Reygadas said there was no such pact.

"There is no pact of silence," he said. "There is nothing to hide, we went through the experience as partners, there is nothing to be ashamed about."

Still, Reygadas grew impatient as he navigated through a crowd of news crews around the tent where his family slept while he was trapped.

"Give me my space please," he said.

Fellow miner Claudio Acuna was with a crying baby, riding in a car surrounded by journalists. A woman inside said to the him: "Smile, so they can take your picture, and then they will leave us alone."

Although the miners in the camp had no problems posing for the cameras, almost all of them refused to give statements to the press.

Police had to intervene to allow the miners to tour the remnants of Camp Hope, at the foot of the San Jose Mine, where the accident occurred.

At a press conference Saturday, miner Juan Illanes, who acted as spokesman for the group, urged the media to have patience in reporting and said that the miners expected to write a book about their experience.

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