August 27th, 2010
04:23 PM ET

Chilean miners stuck in a hot, damp, cramped dungeon

Karl Penhaul

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://www.cnn.com/video/world/2010/08/27/vo.chile.miners.anthem.chileangovt.640×360.jpg caption="Miners in Chile crammed into tight space with few comforts" width=300 height=169]

The 33 men trapped in a mine 2,300 feet below the surface in northern Chile face a physical, social, psychological and sanitary ordeal as they await a rescue that could take four months.

The miners are sharing a space the size of a small U.S. apartment. They don't have a toilet, and it's damp and hot with little air circulation. They won't see the light of the sun until sometime in November or December.

Doctors have given the men advice about how to keep their limited living space clean: Portions of a 131-foot-long (40-meter) shaft are being used as a latrine. The shaft is connected to the main 538-square-foot (50-square-meter) cabin, which is being used for sleeping, washing and praying.

The men have split into two shifts so half can rest, while the others keep busy doing tasks, exercising or playing card games or dominoes. Stretchers that were stored in the rescue cabin are being used as beds.

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