Miner`s letter to wife tells of faith in darkness

Santiago: The first message to merge from the depths of a Chilean mine was a love letter from a man to his wife, saying he could not stop thinking of her and urging her to have faith that he would get out alive.

Mario Gomez, 63, told his wife Liliana in the note that he could hear rescuers trying to drill into the emergency shelter where he and 32 others had been trapped since the entrance to the cooper and gold mine collapsed August 5.

"Dear Liliana, I`m well, thank God. I hope to get out soon. Have patience and faith. I haven`t stopped thinking about all of you for a single moment," Gomez wrote.

One of the most experienced miners inside the shelter, Gomez said "a little water" was trickling down into the shelter and that for days the drilling machines could be heard clearly from above.

"We`re hearing the drilling machine. Let`s hope it gets here this time... I`m sure we`ll get out of here alive. I hope to talk to you later," he added.

When rescuers drilling a shaft into the area finally broke through yesterday, they pulled out Gomez`s letter along with another note, wrapped in a plastic bag and bound with rubber bands, said Mining Minister Laurence Golborne.

"All 33 of us are well inside the shelter," said the
second letter, which was read aloud by President Sebastian Pinera.

The news triggered cheers from the crowd gathered utside the mine, as family members broke down in tears and ugged each other.

"I knew my husband was strong," Liliana Ramirez told eporters after reading her husband`s letter. National Emergency Office regional director Carlos arcia said the temperature inside the emergency shelter anged between 32-36 degrees Celsius with very high levels of umidity.

He said the trapped miners had some water and lights nd that in the next few hours they would get fresh supplies f food and water, which they would have to ration out arefully.

Garcia said relatives would be soon allowed to speak ith their loved ones, "to give them hope and strength, hrough a coaxial cable that will be dropped through the drill ore."


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