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9 Peruvian miners rescued after 6 days

By Dpa (mct)

Published: Wednesday, April 11 2012 2:10 p.m. MDT

LIMA, Peru _ Nine miners were rescued alive Wednesday from a mine in southern Peru, where they had been trapped for six days, Peruvian media reported.

The miners shed tears as they were met at the mouth of the mine by Peruvian President Ollanta Humala. Jesus Ccapatinta, one of the workers, said he felt like he had been "born again."

"Let my little daughters rejoice because it's almost like I have come back to life," miner Edwin Bellido agreed.

They had been trapped since Thursday about 300 meters below the surface in the Cabeza de Negro mine in Rosario del Yauca, a town in Peru's southern Ica region.

The mine was operating illegally, after being closed by the authorities two years ago on safety concerns. The site is on fragile ground that is prone to collapse.

Humala made a public appeal Wednesday to the country's miners, asking them to work only in legally established, safe mines that do not put their lives at risk.

"This has been a compendium of human errors," Humala said.

The trapped miners had been given food, water and medication through a pipe, while police, firefighters and civil defense personnel worked to rescue them. Rescue efforts were delayed by several collapses, and shaft walls had to be braced to keep miners and rescue workers safe.

The men wore sunglasses during the rescue operation, to protect their eyes from sunlight after their time in the dark. When they emerged, they were in generally good condition, Peruvian media said. While they were trapped, four of them had stomach problems and several got colds.

"We slept on the ground, in the mud. It's an ugly place," Bellido said.

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