Kerre McIvor

Kerre McIvor is a Herald on Sunday columnist

Kerre Woodham: Miners' plight worse than any horror story

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Remember years ago there used to be a programme on late at night that showed horror stories?

Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected, I think it was. I was addicted to the show, delighting in scaring myself witless on a regular basis.

One of the scariest stories I think I saw was the one where the moneyed prisoner made a deal with the trusty. Next time an inmate died, he would climb into the coffin with the corpse, be buried and have the trusty come and dig him out in return for wads of cash.

The bell duly tolled, our chap climbed into the coffin and he was buried underground.

Hours passed and the trusty seemed to be taking some time so the trapped man lighted a cigarette while he waited. And, as the match flared, it illuminated the face of the corpse - who happened to be the trusty.

The prisoner had been buried alive and as he screamed and screamed the credits rolled, and I had the yips for years afterwards.

Those yips returned in full force this week with news that 33 Chilean miners were trapped underground and would be until Christmas. Thirty-three men, half a mile underground, in a space the size of a living room.

It's my idea of absolute hell.

Officials say they're not so much concerned with the men's physical wellbeing as they are with their mental health and rightly so.

It will be testament to the human spirit if these men emerge unscathed.

- Herald on Sunday

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