- Associated Press - Friday, September 3, 2010

SANTIAGO, CHILE (AP) - Former Uruguayan rugby players who survived more than two months of isolation in the Andes after their plane crashed about 40 years ago were in Chile on Friday to support a group of miners trapped deep underground.

Ramon Sabella said he and fellow plane-crash survivors Pedro Alcorta, Jose Inciarte, and Gustavo Servino will visit the San Jose mine in the northern town of Copiapo on Saturday to deliver a message of hope and support from Uruguayan children.

The miners have been trapped nearly a half-mile underground since Aug. 5. Authorities say it may take up to four months to rescue them.

The ex-players met with Chilean President Sebastian Pinera on Friday in the capital, Santiago.

In 1972, the four were among 16 Uruguayans who survived a plane crash in the snow-covered Andes and then waited 72 days to be rescued. Some were forced to eat the flesh of friends killed in the crash to stay alive themselves.

Sabella was shown on television Friday holding up the children’s message.

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