2 Sep 2010

Trapped miners get piping hot meal

9:46 am on 2 September 2010

The miners trapped underground in Chile are having their first hot meal in nearly four weeks.

Meatballs, chicken and rice were piped through a tube to the 33 men, who are stuck 700 metres below the surface.

Previously the miners have been been nourished only with glucose tablets and high-protein milk.

A four-person team from the US space agency NASA have arrived at the mine to give advice on keeping the miners healthy. The Chilean government asked them to share their experience of coping in confined spaces.

A nutritionist from the team helped put together the menu.

A video released on Wednesday showed the miners to be in better spirits than earlier images, wearing clean red T-shirts. Some of them had shaved off the beards they had grown.

Engineers have drilled through 20 metres of rock so far at the San Jose mine, in Copiapo, after beginning their work on Monday. The rescue attempt is expected to take three to four months.

The trapped men have been told it could take a long time to get them out of the mine, but have not been given dates.