COCONUT CREEK (CBS4) – After a weekend of fun at the Disney World Resort in Orlando, 13 of the 33 Chilean miners who were rescued after 69 days underground were in Coconut Creek Thursday to talk about their survival.

“I connected with God,” said miner Mario Sepulveda.  “I believed before but when I was in that situation, it was even more. “

In their only South Florida appearance, the miners are scheduled to take part in a Tribute to Heroes & Miracles fundraiser at the Seminole Casino Coconut Creek on Friday night.

During a meet and greet with reporters Thursday morning, the miners were asked how many of them planned to go back to the mine. They replied ‘all’.

“All of them are going to return to their profession,” replied the miners’ translator. “It’s in their soul, that’s what they do.”

The miners said they relied on faith during their ordeal and always remained calm.

As for the future, they said they planned to use the proceeds from their book and a movie about their ordeal to do some good at home.

“He’s (Mario Sepulveda) organizing with his fellows to construct housing for needy people that don’t have housing,” said the translator.

Also honored at the fundraiser will be Mike Jones and Ginger Littleton, who stopped Clay Duke when he went on a shooting spree during a Bay County School Board meeting; “All My Children” actor Jose Rene Martinez, who was nearly killed when a land mine exploded under his Humvee in Iraq; Paralympic Games volleyball champion Bradley Johnson and Ana Gospodinoff, who was miraculously cured of cancer throughout her body.

Organizers say all of the honorees will their stories of their miraculous survival when the odds seemed stacked against them.  The event is $100 per person and open to everyone.  You can purchase tickets at the Seminole Coconut Creek Casino or on line at

All proceeds of the event will go to benefit the United Mine Workers of America Miners Aid Fund, the American Cancer Society and Disabled American Veterans.

Ted Scouten

  1. Debbie Simpson Lopez says:

    Dear CBS

    This was a wonderful event and my absolute admiration goes to the chilean miners. I went to the event and was blown away by the stories of the different speakers.

    However it’s a shame you gave no coverage at all to our own local survival heroes Ana & Victor. Their story is AMAZING. They portray what overcoming the impossible means. They overcame all odds with love, faith and true companionship