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Deep Dark Down: Why the Story of Trapped Chilean Miners Captured Our Collective Imagination

More than 4 years ago, a horrific accident caused the collapse of a mine in the northern region of Chile trapping 33 men underground. They were more than 2000 feet below the surface of the earth and 3 miles down a spiral shaft. The copper and gold mine called the San Jose mine that they were working in had been wracked by problems for years.

The men were presumed dead after several unsuccessful attempts to rescue them. Then, 17 days after the accident first took place, a note stuck to a drill bit revealed that the men were miraculously alive. What ensued during the next month was a heroic global rescue effort that inspired Chileans, and people all over the world.

It was a story that brought together issues of industry and economy, labor rights, corporate malfeasance, and government oversight, poverty, class, culture, and of course, the resilience of human beings.

The riveting chronicle of what those 33 men went through while trapped underground for a total of 69 days is related in a new book by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Hector Tobar. The book is called Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine and the Miracle That Set Them Free. Hector Tobar spent 3 years interviewing all 33 miners and was granted exclusive access to them for this new book.

GUEST: Hector Tobar has been a national and foreign correspondent with the Los Angeles Times for many years and has written several other books including The Barbarian Nurseries, and The Tattooed Soldier. His latest book is called Deep Dark Down