The seamless rescue of the 33 men trapped in a Chilean mine last October was apparently a media beat up .
Authorities reportedly covered up the destabilisation of the rescue shaft and a rockfall that cut a cable between the surface and the trapped miners’ chamber 2 000 feet (609.6 metres) underground.
The attempts to recover the men, which began on 12 October, was televised live but the feed was interrupted at one point and older footage taken throughout earlier procedures of the rescue was aired.
In the book entitled Los 33, published this week, the men’s entombment is charted by Jonathan Franklin, who obtained special access to the rescue operation while most media outlets were excluded.
In the book, he says a billion people worldwide were tricked by Chilean media and authorities.
“They never realised that the image of perfection being broadcast was a rerun to cover up a dramatic chapter far too risky for the Chilean government to allow the world to see.”
The country’s president, Sebastian Pinera, was the first to greet the men when they were rescued following more than nine weeks trapped underground.
According to the book, the president instead wanted to be the first man lowered down in the metal cage to join the men underground, because he was “enthralled” by the idea of personally vouching for the mine’s safety.
“Security aides to the president were apoplectic,” the book says.
“Having already suffered in their attempt to protect a president who insisted on flying his own helicopter and scuba diving, they knew he was serious.
“So did Cecilia Morel, the first lady.
“She immediately picked up the scent of a risky folly. Catching her husband’s eye, she told him to abandon the plan.
“‘Don’t even think about it,’” she ordered.
“Though it ran against his instincts, Pinera obeyed.”
The first 17 days endured by the men underground, between the mine collapse and the establishment of contact, is also further explored in the book.
Jackson writes that during that time, when they were forced to severely ration food, they even considered cannibalism.
He also says the men’s requests for sex dolls and condoms were denied by the medical teams on the surface, but the families managed to smuggle some drugs, including marijuana, in letters.