The 33 miners whose story of survival captivated the world have been nominated “Person of the Year” by Time, the popular US-based weekly news magazine.
The 33 miners who survived for 69 days below ground in Chile’s Atacama Desert have been put on a shortlist for the annual title with 25 others, including US President Barack Obama, songstress Lady Gaga, American comedians and political satirists Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert and Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg.
Each year the magazine, which has a global audience of 25 million, profiles a person or persons the magazine’s editors believe “most affected the news and our lives, for good or ill, and embodied what was important about the year.”
The miners’ survival for 17 days on rations of food 700 meters underground before they were reached by rescuers, and then the flawless salvage operation that followed, gained them and Chile international plaudits.
Their story inspired many people and more than one billion tuned in to watch as one-by-one the men were pulled to the surface in a capsule and greeted by Chilean President Sebastián Piñera.
Weeks after the rescue Edison Peña, one of the miners, visited New York and grabbed headlines with his appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman and participation in the New York City marathon, which he completed in spite of an aching knee.
“In a matter of days, they went from victims of a nightmare scenario to stars of an inspirational real-life drama,” a summary on Time’s website says. “Trapped in a collapsed mine a half-mile underground and pushed to the limits of survival, 33 Chilean miners showed the true meaning of friendship and bravery.
“That they somehow kept their humanity during their 10-week ordeal was a testament to their unbreakable discipline and amazing sense of optimism.”
The public are invited to cast their vote on who they think the Person of the Year should be at Time’s website. However, it is the editors of the magazine who make the final decision.