The thirty-three miners trapped underground in a mine in Chile since 5 August, have told rescuers to call off their emergency rescue attempt, and to leave them be, as they have decided to remain where they are, and to set up their own subterranean community.
Specialised equipment had begun to arrive at the San Jose copper and gold mine, near the city of Copiapo. In the last 24 hours, the miners had received glucose, rehydration tablets and medicine, but were concerned that their emergency suppiles contained no beer.
Capsules containing the supplies were sent down a tube, which is the miners' only lifeline.
Rescuers made contact with the men on Sunday after lowering a probe some 700m (2,300ft) beneath the surface. After the miners were finally told today that it may take up to four months to get them out, their elected leader, Arturo Scargillez, sent a message to the rescuers. In it, he said:
"We are all safe and well. It's actually quite nice down here, apart from the fact that we have no beer. Once we have established proper lines of supply and communication with the bosses, things will gradually improve, and we can sustain a reasonable lifestyle here underground in the caverns. Now go and get us our beer!"
The place where the miners are trapped is known to be a rich source of coal, as well as of copper and gold, which would provide an unlimited supply of fuel, and there are reputed to be miles of tunnels which could be developed into pedestrian walkways and thoroughfares. In time, more cavities could be excavated to make room for housing estates and shopping centres, and a businesses are expected to flourish.
Said Scargillez through a crack in the rubble:
"All too often, miners, and indeed other trade unionists, underestimate the economic strength they have. We will unite and fight, and form our own little Yorkshire community down here. Bollox to the rest of you!"