SANTIAGO, Chile — A rescued Chilean miner has advice for a trapped Thai boys soccer team half a world away: Help each other and mentally prepare for rescue.
Omar Reygadas spent 69 days trapped underground in Chile in 2010 with 32 other miners.
"It's terrible for them — they're little — but I believe that boys with a lot of strength are going to manage to be whole when they get out," Reygadas told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
The 12 boys and their soccer coach were trapped inside the cave by rising water June 23. Divers reached the team late Monday, but rescuers will likely have to help the boys swim out using diving gear.
Reygadas said the boys' coach will be a key figure in keeping them motivated.
It's difficult to send them advice, he said, but "they should think only about leaving and reuniting with their families."
Reygadas and the other miners were trapped nearly 2,300 feet (700 meters) below Chile's Atacama desert before a specially built capsule could be lowered down a drilled shaft and raise them to the surface one by one.
Faith and prayer, as well as humor were very important to the miners at times when they doubted they would be rescued, Reygadas said.
"They shouldn't be ashamed to be scared," he said of the boys. "Because we were scared, too. Our tears also ran. Even as adult men, we cried."