When the San José mine collapsed outside of Copiapó, Chile, in August 2010, it trapped 33 miners beneath thousands of feet of rock for a record-breaking 69 days. Across the globe, we sat riveted to television and computer screens as journalists flocked to the Atacama desert. While we saw what transpired above ground during the grueling and protracted rescue, the story of the miners' experiences below the earth's surface—and the lives that led them there—hasn't been heard until now.

In this master work of Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist, Héctor Tobar gains exclusive access to the miners and their stories. The result is a miraculous and emotionally textured account of the thirty-three men. Read an excerpt in the New Yorker here.

Follow along on the events of those sixty-nine days with clips from the audiobook below.

 

From Disaster to Daylight: The Chilean Miner Timeline

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October 11-13, 2010

The miners learn that their rescue will begin the next day, October 12, at 8pm. Just after midnight, the first miner, Florencio Avalos, reaches the surface. By 10 pm on October 13, all 33 miners are rescued.

Hear more in this excerpt from the Deep Down Dark audiobook:

October 9, 2010

There is much celebration above and below ground as the rescue capsule reaches the miners.

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October 2, 2010

As rescue inches closer, the men once again discuss how they will handle their story as a group once they reach the surface. A plan is discussed to formalize their agreement and the miners request a notary to make it official.

Hear more in this excerpt from the Deep Down Dark audiobook:

September 25, 2010

As the miners mark 50 days underground, the first rescue capsule, called Fenix, reaches the mine. The capsule, painted in the colors of the Chilean flag, is a mere 21 inches wide and contains tanks for air, microphones for communication, and a monitor for the heart rates of the miners. To choose the rescuer who will go down in the capsule, the Chilean government has set up an informal competition.

Hear more in this excerpt from the Deep Down Dark audiobook:

September 18, 2010

On Chilean Independence Day, the miners celebrate below ground by eating empanadas, raising the national flag, and singing the national anthem. Doctors veto the idea of sending down celebratory Chilean wine.

Hear more in this excerpt from the Deep Down Dark audiobook:

September 14, 2010

On September 14, trapped miner Ariel Tincona's wife gives birth to a healthy baby girl named Esperanza, which means Hope. The proud father watches the birth via a video link.

Hear more in this excerpt from the Deep Down Dark audiobook:

September 10, 2010

In the past few days the Plan B drill has run into trouble and on September 10th the parts for the Plan C drill arrive at the mine. Plan C is a massive oil-drilling rig that will take several days to assemble.

Hear more in this excerpt from the Deep Down Dark audiobook:

September 7, 2010

A fiber-optic line is lowered into the mine allowing the men to communicate more easily with the surface. It has the added benefit of giving the miners the chance to watch a Chile vs. Ukraine soccer game on a projector sent down. The Chilean soccer team wears shirts that say "Fuerza Mineros," or "Miners Be Strong."

Hear more in this excerpt from the Deep Down Dark audiobook:

September 4, 2010

A couple of days earlier a team of health experts and engineers from NASA arrive at the mine to provide advice on treating men that are living in isolated and confined conditions. They are there on September 4th when the first drill that will be part of Plan B arrives.

Hear more in this excerpt from the Deep Down Dark audiobook:

August 28, 2010

On August 28th, the miners receive videos from their families. Later that night the men meet to discuss how they will share their story when they get out.

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August 27, 2010

A video camera reaches the miners and they show off their makeshift underground camp. The miners, though shirtless and unshaven, appear healthy and show the camera how they pass time by playing dominoes and praying.

Hear more in this excerpt from the Deep Down Dark audiobook:

August 22, 2010

Rescue workers hear tapping on a drill at a depth of 2,260 feet. When the drill is pulled out, there is a note attached: "WE ARE WELL IN THE REFUGE. THE 33." The next day, food, water, medicine, and energy tablets are sent down to the miners.

Hear more in this excerpt from the Deep Down Dark audiobook:

August 19, 2010

Food is dwindling and the men are losing hope. They can hear the sounds of drills, but so far none have reached them.

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August 16, 2010

Fears grow that the miners are dead. In the early hours of August 16th, the drillers hit an open space and think they may hear tapping. However, when a camera is lowered, they see nothing but an empty cavern.

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August 11, 2010

As outrage builds among the relatives and the public, President Sebastián Piñera demands the resignation of those in charge of mine safety.

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August 8, 2010

Seventy-eight hours after the mine collapse, miners hear the first sounds of drilling, indicating that rescuers are at work.

Hear more in this excerpt from the Deep Down Dark audiobook:

August 5, 2010

A mine collapse in Copiapo, Chile leaves 33 miners trapped 2,300 feet underground.

Hear more in this excerpt from the Deep Down Dark audiobook: