Chile's freed miners asked the media to respect their privacy as they adjust to life above ground after being trapped a half mile under the earth for more than two months.

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Chile’s freed miners asked the media to respect their privacy as they adjust to life above ground after being trapped a half mile under the earth for more than two months.

Juan Illanes said he and the 32 other miners have been overwhelmed by media attention since being hoisted out of the ground last week in Chile’s Atacama Desert.

“This has taken on scandalous proportions,” Illanes, flanked by six other freed miners, told journalists at a TV news conference in Copiapo, Chile, near the mine. “Please give us enough space to learn how to confront you all.”

The miners plan to write a book about their experience and have agreed to keep details of their ordeal among themselves for now, Illanes said. “I am party to the idea of maintaining this as a state secret,” he said.

Saturday, miner Omar Reygadas said he was overwhelmed by the attention as he was stopped by a TVN reporter as he was leaving a medical checkup in Copiapo. “This is really hard to deal with,” Reygadas told TVN. “I’m overcome with emotion.”

Jorge Diaz, medical director for the Chilean Insurance Association, which is treating the miners, said the miners are all suffering from post-traumatic-stress syndrome. “We don’t know how long this will last,” he told TVN.

Illanes said he went to work in the San Jose copper mine even though he knew it was unsafe. “When you don’t have a good job and a company offers you something that’s substantially above average, and I’m talking about wages, what do you do?” El Mercurio’s online news service reported Illanes as saying.