Owners escape blame for Chile mine collapse

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The inquiry into the Chile mine collapse that trapped 33 men for more than two months has ended with no charges filed, drawing angry responses from the rescued men.

The 2010 cave-in at the San Jose mine in the Atacama desert brought the mine’s safety record into focus and put mining, Chile’s top industry, under close scrutiny.

The decision by a prosecutor in the northern region of Atacama to bring no charges against mine owners Alejandro Bohn and Marcelo Kemmeny, or Chile’s Mining Ministry’s regulatory unit, was announced after a three-year investigation.

“This is a disgrace to Chile’s justice system,” Mario Sepulveda, who became the public face of the miners, said.

“It’s impossible that in an accident of this magnitude no one is held responsible. Today, I want to dig a deep hole and bury myself again; only this time, I don’t want anybody to find me.”

The miners said it felt like an earthquake when the shaft 
caved in above them on August 5 2010.

The 33 miners, who had stretched a meagre 48-hour store of emergency food, were hauled up one by one in October in a cage through 2,000 feet of rock.