Chile's Miners Return Home As Heroes

(ITN)

All but two of the rescued Chilean miners have left hospital to face the outside world as national heroes.

In scenes repeated across Copiapo the rescued miners were treated to carnival-like atmospheres as they returned one by one to their homes, families and friends.

Mario Gomez, the oldest of the 33 workers stuck for more than two months in a northern Chilean copper and gold mine, returned home despite concerns over his health.

When asked by reporters about the nightmare experience, the 63-year-old said: ""We are not going to talk about that.""

The first written eyewitness account could come from Victor Segovia, who kept a journal while underground.

The 47-year-old said the early part of the 69-day ordeal, when he could not communicate with his family, was the worst,

He said: ""Not to be able to talk to my family when we were there and they couldn't find us and we were alive, so they wouldn't worry. I felt impotent because there was no way to let them know.""