Chile miners joked about cannibalism

Vince Coglianese Contributor
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COPIAPO, Chile — One of the 33 men trapped in a Chilean mine for 69 days has told how they joked about cannibalism — but only after they started to get supplies of food.

The U.K.’s Guardian newspaper also reported that the men divided into three different groups and that “fist fights” broke out during disagreements.

Richard Villaroel told the paper that there was an agreement that they would share what food they had after the mine collapsed.

He said their daily ration during the 17 days before a probe reached them from the surface was half a spoonful of tuna or salmon.

“We were getting eaten up, as we were working,” Villaroel told the newspaper. “We were moving, but not eating well. We started to eat ourselves up and get skinnier and skinnier. That is called cannibalism, a sailor down there said. My body was eating itself up.”

Asked if the men had been worried they would have to start eating each other, Villaroel said: “At that moment no one talked about it. But once [help came] it became a topic of joking, but only once it was over, once they found us. But at the time there was no talk of cannibalism.”

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Vince Coglianese