Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Media Coverage of Chile Mine Rescue

CNN)- Jubilation may have met the first man pulled from the collapse Chilean mine shaft, but it was the second man rescued whose image was splashed across news websites.

Wearing sunglasses and looking more like a rock star than a miner, Mario Sepulveda, 39, punched the air after being winched in a metal pod from deep below ground. He embraced a clearly elated Chilean President Sebastian Pinera and led the crowd in rousing chants.

"No-one expected souvenirs from the second man to emerge from 69 days trapped in northern Chile's San Jose mine, " the Sydney Morning Herald reported. "But there was Mario Sepulveda, 39, only moments free of the rescue capsule, digging into a scuffed, yellow kit bag for gifts for his rescuers - rocks."

British tabloid The Sun dubbed him "Super Mario," and repeated claims that he was the "joker of the pack" who had "earlier asked rescuers to send down a blow-up doll for his colleagues."

The Sun ran its main story under a typically irreverent headline "Up, up and hooray," while many others, including The New York Times, played it straight, updating its headline as each miner each miner reached the surface.

The first rescue came after the publishing deadline for print editions of European newspapers, but many updated the drama in live online blogs.

"José Ojeda is the seventh miner to be rescued. He waves a smudgy Chilean flag. Very calm and now a big smile and a big hug for his stepdaughter, "blogged the Guardian newspaper, noting the scale of the event was similar to the "media hullabaloo" in the U.S. over the rescue of a toddler Jessica McClure from an eight-inch pipe in 1987.

By the eighth rescue, Germany's Spiegel had updated its leading headline to read "Miracle in the Desert," while, for a time, France's La Tribune relegated the Chile rescue to its second article as the nation entered a second day of strikes.

Spain's El Mundo led with a mosaic of black and white images of the 33 miners which turned to color as each was rescued, under the headline "Welcome to Life."

Australian press called on the expert opinion of two men who survived two weeks trapped almost one kilometer down a gold mine in Tasmania four years ago.

Todd Russell and Brant Webb emerged as heroes after their ordeal, but have told of their struggle to move on. "These guys in Chile they're going to have to start unloading because otherwise they're going to build it up and it's going to become a little time bomb in them, and that's what breaks up marriages and families and ultimately yourself," Webb told Sky News.

Tasmanian newspaper The Mercury reported that residents of the small mining town of Beaconsfield, where the men were trapped, would be "glued to coverage of the Chilean mine rescue today."

"We are in that same unknown territory," Retired Uniting Church minister Frances Seen said. "They are going through the same sort of thing that we've gone through -- the waiting and the delays."
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