Millions worldwide watch Chilean mine drama unfold

They were inspired by the miners` fortitude and camaraderie. They were amazed by the engineering feat that saved the men`s lives. And they were grateful for some good news for a change.

Copiapo, Chile: They were inspired by the miners` fortitude and camaraderie. They were amazed by the engineering feat that saved the men`s lives. And they were grateful for some good news for a change.

From Australia to the coal fields of Appalachia, people in seemingly every corner of the world followed the Chilean miners` rescue Wednesday on TV and the Internet, and many were uplifted by the experience.

"It`s a heartwarming story. It`s family values. It`s leadership. It`s everything that we should have here," Mark Vannucci said as he watched on a TV at a restaurant in New York`s Times Square. His wife, Susan, said: "Instead of those guys in the mine turning on each other, they worked together, they bonded."

The riveting images of the men being brought to the surface to see the sun, breathe fresh air and hug their loved ones for the first time in two months were broadcast live to millions of people in the U.S. and across much of the Middle East, Asia, Europe and Africa throughout the night and during the day.

Viewers were transfixed by the Chilean state video feed: a you-are-there view from a camera mounted on top of the rescue capsule that carried the miners to the surface. It showed the brilliant white light at the end of the tunnel getting bigger and bigger and finally exploding like a starburst as each man ascended.

"It feels like we`re all there with them even though we`re so far away in London," Jose Torra said in England. "For once it is a story with a good ending."

Some marvelled at the miners` capacity to cope for so long and wondered how they would have dealt with the terror and uncertainty.

"It`s pretty amazing to see them stay down there that long and not go crazy," said Tamara Craiu, a 21-year-old student from Singapore who is taking classes in London. "I`d go mad."
Many watched the first miner rescued on their laptops late Tuesday night and continued following the drama on their computers at work Wednesday. Joyous reaction poured out across Twitter and Facebook, as viewers worldwide witnessed the story unfolding in real time.

Some instantly offered their casting suggestions for a Hollywood movie about the ordeal: Tom Cruise, Ben Affleck, Nicolas Cage. The website Movieline.com suggested five directors, including Ron Howard ("Apollo 13").
In Mexico, some Internet users posted bittersweet messages, praising Chile`s government but expressing regret that their country could not save the 65 miners who died in 2006 after an explosion in a coal mine.

In Spain, Elias Saguillo, one of some 50 Spanish coal miners who staged a monthlong underground protest in September over unpaid wages and demands for subsidies, said he and his colleagues followed the Chilean ordeal day after day.

Bureau Report

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