October 16, 2010 / 1:00 PM / 9 years ago

Jamaica offers free vacation to rescued Chile miners

KINGSTON, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Jamaica is offering the 33 rescued Chilean miners a free vacation on the Caribbean island after their 69-day ordeal underground, the Jamaican government said.

Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett announced the offer in Kingston along with Gordon “Butch” Stewart, a prominent local businessman and chairman of Sandals Resorts, which operates a chain of hotels in Jamaica and the Caribbean, according to a Jamaica Information Service statement released late on Friday.

Calling the rescue a miracle, Bartlett said the offer included the miners’ spouses and the rescuers who helped bring the 33 up from the earth’s depths this week after more than two months trapped in a northern Chilean copper and gold mine.

“It is fitting and appropriate that we in Jamaica extend a loving hand to our brothers and sisters in South America who endured such a demanding ordeal, yet emerged victorious despite all odds,” Stewart said.

The miners have become global media stars since their widely watched rescue, and have been showered with job offers and gifts, including invitations to visit the Greek isles and Elvis Presley’s Graceland mansion in Tennessee, as well as to attend European soccer matches. (Reporting by Horace Helps; Editing by Pascal Fletcher and Doina Chiacu)

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