Chilean miners ask media to back off

Some of the 33 miners rescued from a Chilean mine are remaining tight-lipped about their ordeal and are asking that the media back off.
Rescued miners, back, from left, Claudio Nunez, Juan Carlos Aguilar, Dario Segovia and David Herrera, front, Luis Urzua, Juan Illanes and doctor Jorge Diaz of the Chilean Health Institute, answer questions from reporters in Copiapo, Chile on Saturday. ((Jorge Saenz/Associated Press))
Some of the 33 miners rescued earlier this week from deep underground in a Chilean mine are remaining tight-lipped about their ordeal and are asking the media to back off.

At a news conference on Saturday,  a group of seven of the miners said they have decided not to discuss the details of their 69 days trapped in the mine in order to avoid undercutting the value of a book they want to put out about their time underground.

They also took issue with the treatment of Johnny Barrios's return home, saying the media went overboard. Barrios returned to his lover's house under the glare of television cameras. His wife lives about a block from his lover.

Speaking for the miners, Juan Illanes said they are seeking training and other benefits from the Chilean government.

"As a group, we are 33 and we have the very serious intention of consolidating things," he said.

The miners have agreed to hire an accountant and share equally any money they make from their story.

All but two of the 33 miners have been released from hospital. One is suffering from vertigo and one has dental issues. However, freelance journalist Jorge Garreton reported from Santiago that signs of other problems are beginning to emerge.

The miners and their families were scheduled to attend a mass on Sunday at the mine site, but the event has been cancelled. Officials have said the men aren't mentally prepared to confront the scene of their anguish.

"The minister of health has said that most of the miners are in a hypersensitive state," Garreton said. "They're showing signs of stress and post-traumatic stress, despite having been released, and they're overly sensitive. Therefore [the minister] advises the media to be careful not to encroach in their lives."

Not all of the miners are afraid to confront the site of their ordeal.

Rescued miner Jose Henriquez, left, speaks to the press during a visit to the San Jose mine Saturday. ((Nicolas Garcia/Associated Press))
Jose Henriquez, the 24th miner to be rescued, returned to the mine site on Saturday.

"I am happy to be in this place and give thanks to the Lord for being here again with my family," he said. Henriquez, 55, organized Bible study sessions while the miners were trapped, and he had friends send 33 small  Bibles down a supply hole to the men.

Elsewhere, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera brought rocks from the mine with him when he arrived in Britain on Saturday. He planned to give the rocks to British Prime Minister David Cameron and to Queen Elizabeth during meetings with them on Sunday.