They survived for 69 days; their rescue was described as a miracle. After a gruelling underground ordeal in the San José copper-gold mine near Copiapó in the Atacama Desert, these 33 Chilean miners have become international celebrities. Some of them have been guests of honour at Manchester United and Real Madrid football games, while others have visited Disneyworld and Hollywood.
Recently, 25 of them made an eight-day trip to Israel as part of what they called “a pilgrimage of thanksgiving”. During their visit, the miners — many of whom were accompanied by their wives and children — visited key Catholic sites in the Holy Land, including the Via Dolorosa and Bethlehem’s Church Of The Nativity in the occupied West Bank. They also made trips to Jerusalem’s Western Wall and the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum.
After their spiritual, cultural and historical experiences, the miners took time out to relax at the Dead Sea, where they floated in the water and took advantage of the mineral-rich mud around the area, which is the lowest place on Earth and an Official Finalist in the New7Wonders of Nature campaign.