Exclusive: Rescued Miner Says Experience Renewed His Faith in God

In front of the world, the men endured a living hell but were not broken by it.

ByABC News
October 13, 2010, 8:47 PM

Oct. 14, 2010— -- For more than two months, 33 trapped Chilean miners gave the world a lesson in loyalty, comradeship and teamwork.

In front of a global audience, the men endured a living hell but were not broken by it.

For miner Ricardo Villaroel, the experience renewed his faith in God.

He was the 28th miner to be pulled to safety Wednesday. He was in the first part of the area where the Aug 5. mine collapse occurred.

"I felt … I felt fear, I was working and it fell three meters [about 10 feet] from us and it blocked a machine and we were able to drive away," he said.

In an exclusive interview with ABC News, Villaroel recalled how he clung to life: "Water, but not pure water, mine water ... it had taste of machine oil but we had to drink it because there was no food."

Villaroel said the miners had to set up a system to ration food and water.

"We spoke about it at our first meeting we had when we were trapped," he said. "We all agreed that we would share all the food that there was but rationed and a little bit, we had to wait every 24 hours to eat a little piece of tuna."

He said his "insides were eating themselves away" and the men were deteriorating.