Five weddings and a porno: Miners’ return to normality

Since escaping their underground dungeon last month the 33 miners have experienced a whirlwind of family dramas, red carpet trips, endorsements and planned film depictions — including a porno.

The men’s return to supposed normality has included marriage proposals, foreign jaunts, a football match against government ministers and a reported Hollywood bidding battle for the rights to their story.

Five of them went on bended knee to propose church weddings to girlfriends and wives, keeping promises made during 69 days trapped in the collapsed mine in the Atacama desert. Some had proposed in notes sent to the surface via a 700m borehole.

Esteban Rojas (44) said he wanted a church wedding to follow up the civil service he had 25 years earlier. “I accept. I’ve still got the letter to hold you to it,” his wife, Jessica Yanez, told reporters with a smile.

Another miner, Claudio Yáñez (34) proposed to his girlfriend, Cristina Núñez, at a reunion party at the seaside town of Caldera. “After these 10 years we’ve spent together, now it’s time for us to get married,” he said. The mood was soured by relatives who complained Yáñez had not spent enough time with them since emerging from the rescue capsule on October 13. A sister hurled a rock at the couple’s house and said the family would not support him.


Yonni Barrios (50) may also marry his long-term girlfriend but only if he divorces his wife — a love triangle which made the unlikely Casanova a source of soap opera-type attention when it was his turn to be winched to freedom.

The website AshleyMadison.com reportedly offered Barrios $100 000 to be the face of its online dating service, a controversial infidelity network with the slogan “life is short, have an affair”. A condition of the deal, however, was that Barrios remain married to his existing wife to keep the two-timing reputation intact.

Most of the others have kept a low profile, including Carlos Mamani (23) a Bolivian migrant, who has returned home to the offer of a government job.

The men vowed a pact of silence over certain events during their confinement, especially the first 17 days when food and hope dwindled, but they are expected to reveal fresh details for book and movie deals.

Unauthorised depictions are under way, including books by Chilean and American journalists, documentaries, TV movies and a possible Hollywood blockbuster. Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, Madonna and Angelina Jolie have been named as possible directors and producers. Also planned is a pornographic film titled The Mine that Ate the 33, using a pun in Chilean slang which uses the same word, “mina”, for mine and hottie. The Chilean director, Leonardo Barrera, told Radio Cooperativa he was not planning “to show a massive orgy on the screen” but rather a sympathetic, fictionalised account.

Gifts and offers from around the world have deluged “los 33”, including a Bosnian factory’s pledge to send goat-skin shoes in time for Christmas.

President Sebastián Piñera, who led a team of ministers and rescuers in a 3-2 defeat of the miners in a celebratory football match, has seen his approval ratings soar to 63% thanks to his handling of the crisis. The three rescue capsules have also become stars: two are on display in Chile and one is at the Shanghai expo. – guardian.co.uk

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