AOL News (Sept. 2) -- Yonni Barrios may have been feeling trapped long before a landslide sealed him inside a Chilean gold mine last month.
As Barrios awaited rescue along with 32 other miners, his wife and his mistress met each other thousands of feet above, at a vigil for the men stuck in the mine. Marta Salinas, 56, says she heard the other woman calling her husband's name as families gathered to pray for the workers.
Salinas told told The Sun in London she was "horrified" but plans to keep her man. "Barrios is my husband. He loves me, and I am his devoted wife. This woman has no legitimacy," she told the British paper.
But the other woman, Susana Valenzuela, said she and the trapped miner will stay together. "We are in love," she told the paper. "I'll wait for him."
The Chilean miners have been trapped below the Atacama Desert since Aug. 5 and will likely remain there for months; rescuers have said it could be Christmas before the men are finally freed. But life for the miners and their families has continued to march on anyway, in spite of the 2,300 feet of rock between them.
Not all the news has been so melodramatic. Earlier this week, one miner sent a wedding proposal to his longtime partner. Twenty-five years after the couple wed in a civil ceremony, Esteban Rojas promised Jessica Yanez that she would finally have the big church wedding she had dreamed of.
Susana Valenzuela holds a photograph of trapped miner Yonni Barrio and a statue of the Virgin Mary at the camp where the relatives of 33 trapped miners wait outside the collapsed San Jose mine in Copiapo, Chile.
"Please keep praying that we get out of this alive. And when I do get out, we will buy a dress and get married," Rojas wrote on a piece of paper, according to a report on CNN. Rescuers managed to pull up the paper from the shaft through a tiny hole that is being used to send food and supplies to the miners.
Yanez was thrilled with the proposal. "He always said he planned to grow old with me, and I plan to grow old with him. Our love is very deep," she said.
The world is getting to know the miners as families paint a portrait of their loved ones. The four children of miner Omar Reygadas are keeping a kind of public diary of their experience with BBC News as they wait for their father's rescue. On Wednesday, as the miners ate their first hot meals, Reygadas' son Omar lamented that his father could not receive his favorite dish.
"My dad's favorite food is steak with avocado -- he eats it with lots of avocado," Omar wrote on BBC. "But he hasn't been sent anything like that because the food sent has to first be studied by a nutritionist."
Meanwhile, controversy is deepening over how much information the miners should receive about the lengthy rescue effort and about the world that has continued on without them. Psychologists working for the Chilean government have instructed the families to write letters that will not upset the miners, in the hopes of keeping their spirits high during the long wait.
Not everyone thinks that's a good idea.
Nick Kanas, a professor at the University of California at San Francisco, has studied the emotional toll experienced by astronauts in space. He said it is important to create strong bonds of trust between the men and the rescuers.
Sponsored Links"I would not screen anything," he told The Guardian in London. "If you start to do that, you are setting up a base for mistrust. The miners will then ask, 'What else are they hiding from me?'"
That may be the question Marta Salinas is asking as well, as she waits for her husband to emerge from the mine and explain himself. In the meantime, her husband may have a hard time getting into trouble. The miners' requests for alcohol and cigarettes were shot down this week by a team of NASA doctors sent to help the men stay healthy in an inhospitable environment.
"From the alcohol standpoint, we need to first get their nutrition up before we make any