Return to Transcripts main page


A Miner Miracle: Five Years after the Chilean Rescue. Aired 9:00-10:00p ET.

Aired August 4, 2015 - 21:00   ET



UNIDENTIFED MALE: The following is a CNN Special Report.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A remote desert mine. A massive collapse.

JONATHAN FRANKLIN, AUTHOR, 33 MEN: A huge chunk of the mountain just slid down.

FLORES: 33 men sealed half a mile down. Their survival defied all odds.

FRANKLIN: There was never any sense that they could have all made it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking in Foreign Language)

FLORES: A rescue seemed impossible.

Did you ever think this is not going to happen?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every minute of every day.

FLORES: You thought somewhere, "We're going to die."


FLORES: An amazing feat watched by a billion people that five years later cannot be explained.

ALEX VEGA, CHILEAN MINER: These poles should not have been able to abandon some these curves.

FLORES: You that felt god was there?

VEGA: I think.

FLORES: Tonight, "A Miner Miracle Five Years after the Chilean Rescue."

There is gold in these hills. Copper, too. And on August 5th, 2010, there are 33 men, half of mile below this hard dusty terrain, working to extract them. 56-year-old Jorge Galleguillos enters the century old San Jose Mine around 8:00 A.M. Every time that you entered the mine, you did something specific. What was that?

JORGE GALLEGUILLOS, CHILEAN MINER: I would stop before the virgin that was there and do the sign of the cross. Sometimes I would light a candle to ask for protection during the work day.

FLORES: It is something he does but doesn't really believe in. He says he's not religious. 29-year-old Ariel Ticona is at San Jose as well. The son of a miner, he is expecting his third child. A sonogram taken yesterday shows his wife Elizabeth is having a girl.

ARIEL TICONA, CHILEAN MINER: (Speaking in Foreign Language)

She is going to be called Carolina.

FLORES: For Ariel, Jorge and the other miners, the work is grueling. Hours of back breaking and dangerous labor. That morning, is there something different?

GALLEGUILLOS: The mine was rumbling. There were a lot of scratching in that seen among the floor of ruble in several places.

FLORES: Jorge says he's been complaining for weeks but continues working at the mine because there are few options for a miner like him. Older, not in the best of help. Just before lunch, Jorge asked the mine's driver to take him to the surface for a spare part. The two men don't know it but around 1:40.

FRANKLIN: There's a crack. It's almost like a warning crack. That sends just a wave of dust through the tunnel.

FLORES: On the way back down in the truck, Jorge notices something very strange.

GALLEGUILLOS: I will describe it like a white butterfly that fell. Like a piece of paper, like this, shooting there in the alley not straight down.

FLORES: Most likely it is a bit of white quartz, chipped off by the pressure of shifting rock but in local culture, a white animal is a sign God is present.

FRANKLIN: Then there was a second crack which sounded like the entire mountain has collapsed upon them.

FLORES: What did you see?

GALLEGUILLOS: (Speaking in Foreign Language)

FLORES: There's a lot of dust. You couldn't see anything.

GALLEGUILLOS: (Speaking in Foreign Language)

FLORES: Like a rumbling.

GALLEGUILLOS: (Speaking in Foreign Language)

FLORES: Like an earthquake.

GALLEGUILLOS: (Speaking in Foreign Language)

FLORES: Your driver told you this is it.

GALLEGUILLOS: At that moment, I saw my six day-old grandson in my arms and my mother right in front of me.

FLORES: (Speaking in Foreign Language)

What did you think?

GALLEGUILLOS: I am not going to see my mother again. I am not going to meet my grandson.

FLORES: Ariel Ticona with most of the other men near the bottom of the mine.

TICONA: We were waiting for the tractor to take us up for lunch. We felt a very strong shock wave and we had to protect our ears.


FLORES: The miners have no idea what has just happened. A quarter mile beneath the surface, there is an enormous collapse -- the size of a 40-story building.

FRANKLIN: It was like a door shutting. It sealed them off.

FLORES: Jorge and his driver are just feet below the giant wall of rock and the only reason all 33 men are not near or under the collapse is because Jorge's errand has taken longer than expected delaying their ride up to lunch.

FRANKLIN: In certain ways, the miners got lucky because none of them were right in the section that collapsed. Nobody got hit in the head with a rock, nobody got knock out. There was no deep lacerations, no broken bones.

FLORES: The miners believe it's God, not luck that keeps them from death or serious injury. This time, Jorge believes.

GALLEGUILLOS: God was helping me. God was caring for me.

FLORES: Surviving the collapse is the first of many unexplainable occurrences that's mark this catastrophe. Another, rock doesn't completely block the air shafts and thick dust doesn't clog the miners' lungs.

FRANKLIN: They almost died from being suffocated and just swallowing the dust. They were pretty much blind.

FLORES: As the dust settles, the miners wonder looking for an escape.

FRANKLIN: They see the smooth face of rock which is really strange.

FLORES: They are gigantic pieces of the main ramp collapsed on top of one another.

FRANKLIN: They climbed up through the airshafts to the next level. Same face of rock. Go up to another level. Same face of rock and that's when they realize they're in for a different type of entrapment.

FLORES: Outside the mine, word of the accident is spreading. Ariel Ticona's family is terrified.

ELIZABETH SEGOVIA, WIFE OF ARIEL TICONA: My world just collapsed. I was in shock. I just cried and cried.

ROSA DIAZ TOLMO, GRANDMOTHER OF ARIEL TICONA: I feel desperate. I worried about all of them. I asked God to save them, hoping for a miracle.

FLORES: As families gather at the mine entrance to pray, local rescue workers along with retired miners, tried desperately to find a way in but can't.

LAURENCE GOLBORNE, FORMER MINING MASTER: I thought that probably they will be dead or injured.

FLORES: Most aides to then President Sebastian Pinera think that way and advise him not to get involved.

SEBASTIAN PINERA, FMR. PRESIDENT OF CHILE: They told me this will end as a tragedy. There is very little we can do. For some reason, my intuition was so strong. I said, "No, I want to get involved."

FLORES: So you went against their advice?

PINERA: Definitely.

FRANKLIN: President Pinera is not your typical president. His hobbies are deep scuba diving and flying helicopters. He likes a challenge.

FLORES: This collapse is more than a challenge. It is mission impossible.



FLORES: Half a mile beneath Chile's Atacama Desert, 33 miners begin a desperate struggle to survive.

At what point do you realize, "I'm not going to see my family tomorrow?"

TICONA: When we were trying to look for an exit and the dirt and the dust don't let us move forward, all the while the mountain keeps rumbling.

FLORES: (Speaking in Foreign Language)

You thought you were going to die?


FRANKLIN: They fell on this little refuge that was supposed to be stocked with all sorts of survival food but these guys had like stocked with it chocolate chip cookies with chocolate milk, crackers, juice, and lots of tuna fish.

FLORES: Ariel Ticona raids the trash. You find food. (Speaking in Foreign Language)

TICONA: Basically not real food just fruit rinds.

FLORES: He drinks sour milk hoping it keeps him alive long enough to see his unborn child.

Your daughter, you wanted to meet her.

TICONA: Of course. I felt helpless that I could leave this world without meeting my daughter.

FLORES: The men have little food but water is abundant, thousands of gallons of greasy murky water is stored in the mine to keep machine engines cool. It's drinkable which is critical at 100 Degrees Fahrenheit and 100 percent humidity.

GALLEGUILLOS: (Speaking in Foreign Language)

FLORES: Jorge Galleguillos has high blood pressure and lung problems caused by years of mining. The heat is making it worse.

Your entire body is sweating and you get an ache in your foot.

GALLEGUILLOS: (Speaking in Foreign Language)

FLORES: (Speaking in Foreign Language).

The boots, you want to cut it to let it breathe.

Miner Alex Vega is also suffering. The 31-year-old machine mechanic says his ulcer is paralyzing him with pain.

So you had three pills left.

VEGA: I had to divide three pills into four parts and take a piece per day.

FLORES: He is a small man with a big reason to live.

Your wife is just lovely.

VEGA: We complement each other well. I love her very, very much. FLORES: They're high school sweethearts with three children. The latest plan to find Alex and the other miners is to send rescuers down ladders.

FRANKLIN: The air shafts are supposed to have ladders so they can serve as a secondary escape. There were several ladders missing.

FLORES: The rescuers made that discovery as rocks rained down on them. They tell the Mining Minister, Laurence Golborne, it is too dangerous to continue.

GOLBORNE: They swam in and say, "We are done." It was a very dramatic situation. I got tears in my eyes.

FLORES: The next plan, drill small holes down through rock. But there are obstacles. They don't know where to drill.

[21:15:00] Did you find the blueprints?

GOLBORNE: Yeah. But they were not precise.

FLORES: Neither are the drilling machines. They have a tendency to veer off course.

GOLBORNE: The probability that we will make a successful hole through 700 meters were very low.

FLORES: How do you come to the conclusion that this is probably the best way to find them?

GOLBORNE: There was no the best way. There was the only way.

FLORES: Over two long weeks in August, more than a dozen holes are drilled. Miners hear drilling, sending them into a roller coaster of emotions.

FRANKLIN: You know they would say, "It's five hours away. It's four hours away. Here it's right." And it would miss.

GALLEGUILLOS: (Speaking in Foreign Language)

FLORES: So he says that he lived with death. He slept with death because every single time that a drill would miss the refuge, he'd lose hope but not faith.

GALLEGUILLOS: Faith is life.

FLORES: In this inferno, it is all he has. And every day he prays to keep it. Daily prayer meetings are part of a routine uniting the men. So is the daily meal. A tuna can split, 33 ways.

By the 16th day underground, the food is nearly gone and it is crippling Alex Vega.

VEGA: I lost 33 pounds in 17 days. I remember getting up, opening my eyes and then losing sight. FLORES: Hope is fading inside the mine and at the surface.

We were reading about a cross being designed by the government just in case these men were actually found dead. Is that true?

PINERA: Yeah. What if we don't find them? 17 days, 20 days, one month, two month, what if we find them and they are all dead?

GOLBORNE: Around 6:00 A.M., I received a phone call.

FLORES: From the drillers who believe they finally busted through to the mine.

GOLBORNE: I got up earlier without a shower, without anything. I went near to the site.

FLORES: The miners down there started screaming saying, "We were found?"

(Speaking in Foreign Language)

GALLEGUILLOS: And other things which can't be retold.

FRANKLIN: The plan is that somebody will take a big piece of steel and start whacking the drill bit. Sure enough the drill operator is hearing this kind of echoing coming up.

FLORES: Rescuers take several hours to pull up the bit.

GOLBORNE: The hammer came out with a cross painted in red and I said to one of the operators, "It's painted." And he say, "Yes. That wasn't there."

I said, "Are you sure?" "Yes, Minister I'm beep sure that there was not anything". And then in the hammer there was tied a plastic bag with a message inside.

FLORES: It is a note from one miner to his wife. Then workers notice something else.

GOLBORNE: And we start digging and we took the paper. And we opened it and I see the message.

FLORES: A message that triggers an impossible rescue.

Did you ever think, darn, this is not going to happen?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every minute of every day.



FLORES: It's been 17 days of hell for 33 trapped miners and their families. Then a drill breaks through returning to the surface with an unbelievable message. UNIDENTIFED MALE: (Speaking in Foreign Language)

All 33 are in the refuge.

FLORES: They were alive. 33 starved and sick men yearning to be rescued. But no one has ever pulled this many men from this deep. Rescuers start by dropping a cable with a camera.

FRANKLIN: The men see this thing coming down. They have no idea what it is.

FLORES: It is followed by a phone and a life line.

UNIDENTIFED MALE: It's a pulley. There was bringing them enough -- the paloma.

FLORES: Paloma means dove. It's what rescue workers like Dr. Jean Romagnoli called the tubes, delivering the miners food, supplies and medicine. The miner Mario Sepulveda document life underground, asking Alex Vega how he's doing.

MARIO SEPULVEDA, CHILEAN MINER: Little by little our situation is improving.

VEGA: I started taking medication every 12 hours. By the second day, I was feeling much better.

The first time I talked to my wife over video conference, I've said how are you, my love? Have you paid the bills?

FLORES: What did she tell you?

VEGA: Why are you worried about the bills? Let's talk about how we are doing.

FLORES: Ariel Ticona's wife is 9 months pregnant and it is unsafe for her to visit the mine.

[21:25:05] He sends her an interesting message about their daughter's name.

SEGOVIA: (Speaking in Foreign Language)

FLORES: She is supposed to be Carolina.

VEGA: One of the miners told me, tell your wife that we are changing your daughter's name to Hope. Given the circumstances, it meant a lot to me.

FLORES: It's also what the families call this place.

UNIDENTIFED MALE: (Speaking in Foreign Language)

FLORES: This gathering right outside the gates. Camp Hope. Jorge Galleguillos' family is here, worried about the 56-year-old miner who appears more and more frail. GALLEGUILLOS: (Speaking in Foreign Language)

Sending regards to my family, my son, my wife, my mom and my siblings. Thank you for everything.

FLORES: There were tough days. Very tough days, he says. Do you think they're all going to make it?

LLARENA: No. Because they were weak, they were sick.

FLORES: Doctor Andres Llarena has an overwhelming task.

LLARENA: The big challenge was to keep them all as a group alive and healthy.

FLORES: The men are thin with skin rashes, fungal infections and dental problems. But perhaps their biggest enemy is their own minds.

LLARENA: Some of them had a death wish.

FLORES: They wanted to die?

LLARENA: Yeah. They didn't want to fight. Their minds were not coping very well.

FLORES: To make matters worse, no one knows how long it will take to free them.

JAIME MANALICH, CHILEAN HEALTH MINISTER: We are not sure how much time. We suppose it should be around four months.

FLORES: The news has drilling experts like American Jeff Hart, stunned.

You're in Afghanistan when all of this is going down.

JEFF HART, DRILLER EXPERT: We were drilling water wells for the U.S. troops and they were talking about four months. We joked amongst ourselves that they should probably get out of their business because there's a better way.

FLORES: He thinks it can be done in less than half the time. President Pinera hopes he is right.

FRANKLIN: He said, "We'll fund Plan A, we'll fund plan B, we'll fund Plan C. Whoever wins, wins. Go for it, guys. And we will succeed in this tremendous effort."

FLORES: Plan A is drilling with tools that dig for minerals. Plan C is working with machinery that drills for oil. Plan B is using an air percussion drill that normally finds water. This one is made by two American drillers who like Jeff Hart believe they can free the miners in weeks.

BRANDON FISHER, FOUNDER, CENTER ROCK INTERNATIONAL: The plan was to utilize one of the three 5.5 inch holes that they were able to drill successfully into the mine refuge.

FLORES: And follow its path while widening to it 12 inches. Then do the same thing again with the 26-inch drill enlarging it into a passage way to freedom. But the plan has enormous challenge.

FISHER: The end of site that we were drilling in Chile, it was almost twice as hard as some of the granites that we have here in the United States. And this hole can make many twists and turns far larger diameter tooling is made the drill straight.

FLORES: On top of that, the drillers have never worked with equipment like this.

RICHARD SOPPE, CONSTRUCTION SALES ENGINEER , CENTER ROCK INTL.: This up just like shocked me right out of my shoes, it won't drill anymore.

FLORES: The face of the drill breaks off and it completely blocking the hole.

SOPPE: We all knew if we didn't get that out, we're done.

FLORES: For days, no progress then...

SOPPE: I hear someone howling out, "Soppe, what in the hell are you doing down here?"

FLORES: Into the mess walks Jeff Hart.

SOPPE: I thought, well, one issue is done. We will have an expert at the controls.

FLORES: Only if they can get drilling again.



FLORES: 33 men have been living in an underground prison for four long weeks. Early attempts to rescue them, failures. There are now three drills, racing to reach the men. The one most likely to get their first is plan B but it's broken.

HART: We had a piece of steel, the diameter of our hole sitting across the hole.

FLORES: It's blocking the passage way the drillers need to free all 33 miners. If they can't clear it, plan B is dead.

After days of trying different fishing tools, you come up with what became a brilliant idea.

HART: I drew it very quick on a sketch of paper and I said, "You know, if we call it a finger basket, I think we can go in and wrap around this piece and extract it."

FLORES: Jeff Hart, cuts a pipe into what looks like steel fingers and works like a claw. He uses to it pluck the debris out of the hole. And just like that, plan B is back in business.

[21:35:02] Down below, the soccer fan Ariel Ticona is anxious for the birth of his daughter. The little girl who is helping him stay alive.

TICONA: We would pray at noon every day. On the day my wife was due, I asked for a prayer so that everything would be OK.

FLORES: On September 14, Hope is born.

You were able to see your daughter's birth.

TICONA: Yes, it was an edited version of the recording. It was a short clip that looped.

FLORES: A short video clip in a teleconference for a proud dad buried beneath the desert.

Do you remember Ariel Ticona's reaction when he saw...

PINERA: Oh I mean he would start crying like a baby and his wife too. I was with the little girl in my hands and they couldn't stop crying.

FLORES: Did baby Hope give people hope?

FRANKLIN: There was always this kind of battle between, they're going to make it or they're going to die but I think that it allowed people to dream and it gave the dream a face.

FLORES: Three days later, another sign of hope. As the 12 inch drill from plan B finally breaks free to the mine.

UNIDENTIFED MALE: This is the second stage of three and we have all our hope this will reunite us with our families.

SOPPE: The three of us had maybe 10 hours sleep in the last three days is that there wasn't anybody sleepy that last meter. It's a defining moment.

HART: They started drinking champagne, high fiving and cheering each other and I'm very superstitious about stuff like that I'm going, "Guys, they won't fit through a 12-inch hole, OK?"

FLORES: In fact, the new hole, this potential corridor to safety, elevates their risk of death or serious injury.

VEGA: When the cold air came in and mixed with warm air, it cooled the rock inside the mine and we could hear a cracking and the rocks falling as they broke off.

FLORES: Despite the dangers, the rescue begins to shift from aspiration to actuality. A top priority is testing the phoenix, the rescue cage that will haul the men one at a time through a half mile of rock.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why did you decide to call the capsule the phoenix? GOLBORNE: Why? Because they think it is sort of a rebirth to a new life.

FLORES: For that new life to happen, the 33 miners need to fit into the phoenix. It's only 22 inches wide.

DR. JEAN ROMAGNOLI, SPORTS MEDICINE SPECIALIST: When I told them they would have to start training, and they went like, "We won't train so don't lose your time, OK?" You don't fit in the capsule and you don't fit in the capsule and we cannot start like chopping part of your stomach. So either you lose weight or you stay down." And they started training.

FLORES: Motivated by his love for soccer, Ariel, and a few other men run the tunnels below.

TICONA: Basically, I wanted to play soccer as soon as I got out.

FLORES: While Ariel stays sharp and focused, others dream.

FRANKLIN: It also gets newspaper articles and they see that Mario is becoming the superstar because Mario had narrated a video through this crazy world.

FLORES: That's Mario Sepulveda, the miner who played television host. The miners believe fame means money, Lots of money.

FRANKLIN: I remember at one point, there was a letter circulating saying that you know, Brad Pitt had signed on to do the movie. They were going to get a million dollars a piece because there had been a contract for $33 million. Actually I went to the journalist who was certain that led her and the paraded him, and say "This is gross."

FLORES: Of course, none of it matters unless Jeff Hart can get the 26-inch drill half a mile down some of the hardest rock on the planet.

HART: The closer we got, the more nerve-wrecking it got because you realized all the time up to that point could be for nothing if we don't actually break through.

UNIDENTIFED MALE: I believe it was about two feet away from breaking through the rescue diameter hole. All of a sudden, everything locks up. The rotation completely stops and I just looked up in there, "Oh my gosh what's -- how are we going to get this thing unstuck?"

FLORES: Then, there's a pop.



FLORES: Frustration is mounting. Plan B's drill is stuck just feet away from the 33 trapped miners.

SOPPE: What in God's name are we going to do now?

FLORES: It doesn't move up or down.

SOPPE: It's like, did we come this far and go through all this and this damn thing is stuck here?

FLORES: Then a loud pop.

FISHER: Everyone just kind of stopped at one point in time trying to look around.

FLORES: They can't figure it out. Then the drill starts moving.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Science, know-how and will were applied but at the end of the day, the big guy had everything to do with this rescue.

FLORES: A short time later...

HART: We turned around and gave the thumbs up.

FLORES: Even Jeff Hart is celebrating.

TICONA: When I saw the drill bit break through, that was by the hand of God that the miracle was done.

FLORES: If it's not miraculous, it's most definitely mind-blowing. 33 men who survived 66 days of purgatory now have a long tunnel connecting them to the families who once feared them dead.


HART: Laurence Golborne, the Minister of the Mine came up and he gave me a hug and he introduced me to lot of his family members. And I just lost it.

FLORES: It's now three days of prepping and praying. A giant winch is hauled into place. Steal casing is lowered to line part of the tunnel. Rescuers hope it enough to prevent a cave-in and the Phoenix capsule designed the safely bring the miners to the surface is tested.

LLARENA: There reality of this vehicle being stuck was there every minute.

FLORES: Anything could go wrong, still President Sebastian Pinera decides to broadcast the rescue live.

PINERA: If something happens that's the truth. So let's share this moment of the emotion, after 70 days of such a huge effort, with the whole world.

FLORES: Extensive precautions are taken to make sure the 33 men, many of them weak and sickly, survive the half mile ride to the surface.

LLARENA: They were monitored, their cardiac frequency, the heart rate, their respiratory rate. Every single one of them would be wearing elastic socks in order to help with the standing position.

FLORES: But the socks, are pink. LLARENA: They say some black ones or brown ones or whatever.

FLORES: And what did you say?

LLARENA: Wear them.

FLORES: As 1 billion people watch, that's one of every six people on the planet. The first miner is strapped in and hoisted up. 16 minutes later, he is hugging his family. Its one miracle, now rescue workers need 32 more. Alex Vega, number 10, comes up with the morning sun. What was it like to hug your wife for the first time?

VEGA: I gave her a huge hug and I kissed her for a very long time.

FLORES: You hugged her and you didn't let her go.

VEGA: I didn't want to separate from her ever again.

FLORES: Jorge Galleguillos is right behind him. The first time that you see light again that you feel the wind, that feel the earth.

GALLEGUILLOS: Life Being born again.

FLORES: You were born again. Reborn with stronger faith but deep wounds. You're not OK?

GALLEGUILLOS: No, but thank God I am alive.

FLORES: There are still 22 miners half a mile under and so much that could go wrong. Then something does, a collapse underground, rocks shooting from the walls and the ceiling of the ramp.

TICONA: It cut a cable.

FLORES: With the video cable cut, the feed watched around the world goes dark. For a moment in time, was the world watching a replay?


FLORES: So you fixed it.


FLORES: The cable is fixed. But Ariel is still underground. He's number 32 of 33 miners to be rescued. And for his family, the wait is excruciating.

TICONA: I told my wife, you can be calm now. It is all over.

FLORES: How do you meet Esperanza, how do you baby Hope?

TICONA: In the hospital, they put her on my chest and I hugged her. That's how I meet her for the first time.

FLORES: Ariel finally has hope. The last miner is close behind him and the longest mining shift in history is complete. After 70 days. PINERA: What happened there during those 70 days was not normal. What happened afterwards, after they were rescued, during the next 70 days, was not normal either.

FLORES: Still ahead, a new chance at life and a whole new set of challenges.


GALLEGUILLOS: I went to the store the other day and so one said here is Mr. Big Bucks it's not true.


FLORES: After 70 days in the dark, 33 Chilean miners take a half mile journey up into the spotlight. Thousands of international journalists are eager to tell their story. And the miners expect money, big money to reveal the remarkable secrets of their survival.

FRANKLIN: The miners from a very humble background at and zero understanding of how the press works, I remember the Bolivian it was trapped. Decide the way you do this is you charge $500 a question.

FLORES: There are lofty aspirations are fueled by guest appearances and speaking engagements that pay thousands of dollars. And by a global audience anxious to celebrate their miraculous rescue.

GOLBORNE: During the first year, they were invited to the Greek Island. They were invited to Disney World.

FLORES: CNN honors them as heroes.

[21:55:02] There's a trip to the holy land.

ROMAGNOLI: This is from our trip to Manchester.

FLORES: England, to see Manchester United hit the soccer field. What was it like to travel abroad with them?

ROMAGNOLI: Very funny, very funny.

FLORES: Especially the night he gets them passed a bouncer at an upscale bar.

ROMAGNOLI: We've got of it Chilean miners and instinctively the guards turned like a 15-year-old teenager. And we're like the Chilean miners, the Chilean miners.

GOLDBORNE: It was very good for them.

FLORES: It was very good, but not extremely profitable. The big money never comes, and, overtime, people lose interest.

Except Hollywood the miner's final shot at fortune is a book and movie deal. The film opens this year. If it's a success, the miners could make substantial profits. FRANKLIN: I always hope that, you know, they'd make $100,000 each. A beautiful ending to this whole tragedy.

FLORES: A tragedy times two. A recent freak rainstorm in the around the San Jose mine one of the driest places on earth, killed more than a dozen people. Thousands are flooded from their homes, including Ariel Ticona.

TICONA: The force of the water was incredible. In seconds, the house flooded in with water and mud.

FLORES: Ariel's family is living with his mother. He's had trouble finding employment. Like many of the miners, his only income is a government pension, $500 a month. About half of what the men made working at San Jose. To make matters worse, most of them are haunted by demons who pulled them back into a very dark place.

FRANKLIN: The government risks a lot and I saved them if you're going to milk them for all of that publicity, maybe they should have had a plan A, B and a plan C for mental health, as well.

FLORES: What the government does provide is access to therapists and medications. Do you think the government could have done more to help them cope?

GOLDBORNE: You always can do more.

FLORES: The now-61-year-old Jorge Galleguillos performs Chilean folk dance to chase off the nightmares that wake him up at 4:00 A.M. every morning.

GALLEGUILLOS: I am alive thanks to God. That's the important thing. But I should be doing better. I should be doing better.

FLORES: It's a constant struggle exacerbated by fame that came without fortune.

GALLEGUILLOS: People say we are millionaires. I went to the store the other day and someone said here is Mr. Big Bucks, it's not true.

FLORES: Alex Vega is doing better financially and psychologically because his mind is never idle. During the day, he's a mechanic. After work, he saws and drills late into the night building a gigantic home. How does working at night building your house help you?

VEGA: It keeps my mind busy. If I'm not working, memories start flooding my mind.

FLORES: For Ariel soccer is his savior.

TICONA: Two days after I was released from the hospital, I went to go play with my neighborhood soccer team.

FLORES: And his little hope is a big sister. Ariel Alejandro Ticona Segovia is welcomed into the world on July 9th. This new child also comes during a very trying time. But Ariel refuses to let his struggles get the best of him.

TICONA: Every time I come here, I remember the happy moments I shared with the other miners.

FLORES: Does that help you keep living?

TICONA: It keeps me strength. We have to learn from the bad things in life. Sometimes in life you smile, sometimes you cry. But from those tears, you have to find happiness.

FLORES: A symbol of that resilience? The cross designed to memorialize dead miners now stands where 33 men got a second chance at life. Where some believe God created a miner miracle.