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New video shows trapped Chilean miners in good spirits

From Karl Penhaul and Esprit Smith, CNN
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Chilean miners keep spirits high
  • NEW: "You can see things down here have changed," a miner says
  • Some of the miners are wearing new clothes and sleeping on camp beds
  • They seem in better health and cleaner than in a video last week
  • The effort to rescue the miners may take up to four months

Copiapo, Chile (CNN) -- A new video by trapped miners in Chile shows them in good spirits, with shaved faces, wearing new clothes and sleeping on camp beds.

The nearly 23-minute video, made available to families Tuesday, was shown to reporters Wednesday.

"We're proud to be Chilean and we're even prouder and happier to be miners," Mario Sepulveda says in the video. "You can see things down here have changed. I have changed my clothes. I've had a shave. And I have some new boots."

Some of the 33 miners are seen in the video wearing red T-shirts, blue shorts with white stripes and calf-length rubber boots.

There aren't enough camp beds for all the miners yet, so the oldest among them get first preference, the men said.

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The men have been trapped in the desert copper-and-gold mine since an August 5 cave-in and are surviving on supplies funneled to them from above ground through three bore holes, each about 4 inches in diameter.

The new video shows them receiving one of the supply tubes, which carried parts of a camp bed for the miners to put together.

The men seem to be in better health and cleaner than in the previous video, shown last week. They even joke for the camera.

Miner Yonni Barrios, who has some nursing experience, has been appointed the medical officer for the trapped men.

"This is Dr. House," one miner says off-camera as Barrios is being videotaped.

The medical TV series "House" is popular in Chile.

The miners also are seen listening to merengue music by Dominican singer Juan Luis Guerra. Two songs that play during the video are "Burbujas de Amor" (Bubbles of Love) and "Ojala que Llueva Cafe" (I Wish it Rained Coffee).

Over the last few days, rescuers have sent the miners MP3 players and small speakers with a selection of music, including Mexican rancheras, Puerto Rican reggaeton and Dominican merengue.

"The music has arrived and we're organizing today's party," miner Sepulveda said in the video. "We're super happy and we've been dancing to a couple of songs."

Relatives saw the video Tuesday in the tents that make up Camp Hope at the entrance to the mine. Some of them emerged solemn-faced from the private screening; others were teary, yet most appeared happy.

Eighteen-year-old Scarlet Sepulveda came out of the meeting crying.

"My dad is fine, he's fine, but I miss him a lot," said Sepulveda's daughter. "Of course I miss him."

Cristina Nunez, wife of Claudio Yanez, came out beaming.

"They're much better. They're cracking jokes, they have their own things, and they're good," she said. "I was very happy to see them."

Jose Vega -- the 70-year-old father of Richard Alex Vega and a veteran miner himself -- said of his son, "I was a little worried because I didn't see him much in the video. I think, if they have a problem, they steer clear of the video. But then again, he's a bit like me. He doesn't like cameras too much."

Meanwhile, drilling has begun as part of an effort to reach the miners. The effort to drill through more than 2,300 feet (700 meters) of rock and safely extract the workers could take three to four months, officials said. The hole under way is the excavation hole, where the drill bit will be placed.

On Tuesday, the miners' menu included tea, herbal infusions, a yogurt-and-cereal shake for breakfast, chicken sandwiches for lunch, kiwi at mid-afternoon, and jam sandwiches for the evening meal. In all, the day's meals contain 2,000 calories each. In addition, each man is being urged to drink about five liters of water per day.

Wednesday's menu included meatballs and sauce over rice and cheese sandwiches. All meals are prepared in a normal manner -- without any additives, such as vitamins.

Though the dishes are normally served with beans in Chile, they would not be included, so that the men -- who are living in close quarters -- can avoid getting intestinal gas, said Jorge Diaz, a medic involved in the miners' care.

The miners are obeying instructions, Sepulveda said in the video.

"We've been eating according to the diet you sent us," he said. "We've been behaving. We're as good as little babies."

Sepulveda also talked about the conversations miners have had with loved ones.

"We put the phone over here so each one can have some privacy," he said. "Chilean men are very macho, so they don't like people to see us cry."

Two of the 16 smokers in the group were to get nicotine patches. One of the men reported feeling withdrawal symptoms from not being able to smoke; the other one said he couldn't sleep without having a smoke.

Reading material will include press clips about the rescue effort, copies of the "Condorito" cartoon books that are popular in Latin America, and a self-help book titled "Tactics for Public Speaking." The book was selected after the miners said they wanted to be able to speak eloquently to the news media when they are rescued.

Meanwhile, a four-person team from NASA is set to arrive in Chile this week to help provide physical and behavioral health support to the miners.

A medical official, a nutritional medic, a psychologist and an engineering expert in logistics from NASA will stay at the mine from Wednesday through Friday to help, Chilean Health Minister Jaime Manalich said.

A group of engineers has said it has a "Plan B" that could halve the time it would take to reach the miners.

Walter Herrera, quality control and risk manager for the Chilean mining company GeoTech, has said his company was bringing a specialized device typically used for boring water holes to the mine. The drill would use one of the three bore holes already made as a pilot and widen the diameter to about 28 inches, which officials have said is wide enough for the miners to be hoisted through.

Chile's mining minister has not ruled out the alternative plan, but has cautioned it might not work. He has also said it might not be put into operation.

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