The first three rescued Chilean miners out of the hospital celebrated their new lives as national heroes on Friday, as word emerged that the 33 want to closely guard their story so they can fairly divide the spoils of their overnight media stardom.
That could explain why none of them have spoken publicly at any length or provided any dramatic details of their 69 days trapped a half mile beneath the Atacama desert.
A daughter of Omar Reygadas, a 56-year-old electrician, said in an interview early Friday that he told her just hours earlier that the miners have agreed to divide all their earnings from interviews, media appearances, movies or books.
“He also said we can't say things to the media without their permission,” said Ximena Alejandra Reygadas, 37. “He said they need to decide what we can tell the media.”
Hundreds of reporters abandoned the mine and descended on this gritty provincial capital on Thursday after the world watchd in awe the mens' nearly flawless rescue through a narrow hole it took a month to drill.
Solidarity helped the men survive the angst and uncertainty of being trapped in the mine for 69 agonising days.
A shift foreman at the San Jose mine who is close to many of the the men told AP that they have hired an accountant to track their income from public appearances and equitably distribute it.
“More than anything, I think the idea is to charge for the rights to everything that's been shown about their personal life, of their odyssey. That way, they're safe,” said Pablo Ramirez.
Ramirez, 29, had lowered himself deep into the mine's bowels right after its August 5 collapse in a vain attempt to reach his comrades.
“They're going to be very close to the chest and will speak together as a group,” he said.
Ramirez is out of a job with the roughly 360 other San Jose miners now that the government has decided to close it as unsafe.
And while he said he's got good job prospects as an experienced miner, his buddies were probably the most in-demand people on the planet.