The Deacon's Bench

This news is both beautiful — and poignant:

Communications and supplies were flowing efficiently between rescuers and 33 trapped miners in Chile, authorities said Wednesday.

The miners have been trapped for a total of 20 days with minimal food. A probe sent by rescuers found the men alive on Sunday, but it could be three to four months before a hole can be drilled that will reach the men, 2,300 feet below the earth’s surface.

In the meantime, the miners are asking for certain objects to be sent down to make surviving in the cave easier for them.

Officials have sent down playing cards, and the miners have asked for religious figures, such as statuettes of saints, to be delivered to them, Health Minister Jaime Manalich said.

A crucifix has also been sent down. The miners intend to designate an area in their shelter as a shrine, Manalich said.

They have also asked for a Chilean flag.

For their part, authorities are focusing on the mental and physical health of the miners.

Chile is asking NASA to send a team of two or three experts on nutritional and psychological issues, Manalich said.

Based on a survey of the miners, three or four of them are showing signs of depression, such as not sleeping and feeling mentally uncomfortable, he said.

Also, according to medical records, there are at least nine miners who would be too overweight to fit through the proposed shaft to rescue them, Manalich said.

The miners are believed to have lost about 8 kg (17 pounds) so far during their time in the mine, and officials expect that the overweight miners will be able to be rescued by the time the shaft is completed.

There is more at the link.

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