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    You are in: Home / Community Forums / South/Central American Cooking / Chilean Miners and the White Butterfly Story
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    Chilean Miners and the White Butterfly Story

    Sun Oct 17, 2010 8:37 pm
    Forum Host

    Is it fact or quickly constructed folklore? Who knows? And perhaps it doesn’t matter…as long as it provides hope and wonder to those in need.

    The story was first recounted in the spidery lines of a letter penned by Jorge Galeguillos, one of the 33 miners trapped half a mile deep in the bowels of the earth.

    It was early afternoon on August 5, and Galeguillos was heading back down into the mine aboard a Nissan Terrano pick-up truck. His friend, former soccer star Franklin Lobos, was at the wheel.

    “We had been up to the workshop and as we were driving back down, a slab of rock caved in just behind us. It crashed down only a few seconds after we drove past. Just ahead I saw a white butterfly,” Galeguillos wrote in the two-page letter to his brother Eleodoro, also a miner.

    “After that, we were caught in an avalanche of dirt and dust. I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. The tunnel was collapsing and the rocks buried a backhoe. A water tank lower down was almost completely buried too,” he continued.

    A huge slab of rock collapsed behind them, totally blocking the mineshaft between Level 190 (the level corresponds to the height above sea level measured in meters) and Level 335, a level higher up the mine closer to the entrance.

    In turn, that collapse triggered a series of smaller cave-ins and rockfalls further down the mineshaft, according to rescue workers.

    As the dust cleared, Lobos and Galeguillos began driving again and managed to negotiate their way around the other rockfalls that had partially blocked the lower reaches of the 4-meter-wide tunnel. They were eventually able to reach 31 fellow miners, who were, by then, huddled for safety in the 50-square-meter refuge on Level 100.

    Galeguillos’ brother says he has no rational explanation about how a tiny white butterfly could have flown more than 500 meters deep into the mine.

    But like most miners in this spartan desert region, he’s a fervent Catholic and deeply superstitious. He’s also a deep believer in the folklore handed down by what he calls “the old people” — lessons passed by word of mouth from grandfather to father to son.
    Tue Oct 19, 2010 3:24 pm Groupie
    Stranger things have happened. Neat Story Molly, thanks for sharing!
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