Mon, May 22, 2006 - Page 5 News List

Goldminers trade a mining death trap for time in limelight

AP , CANBERRA

A miner trapped for two weeks almost a kilometer underground in an Australian gold mine said in an interview broadcast Sunday that he fought to survive.

Brant Webb, 37, and Todd Russell, 34, told their story of survival in a four-hour paid exclusive interview with Australian television's Nine Network -- reportedly the biggest "cash for story" deal in Australian history

Webb and Russell were trapped in a tiny cage lodged under tons of rock in the bowels of the century-old Beaconsfield Gold Mine in Tasmania state after a small earthquake on April 25 triggered a collapse.

They were finally rescued two weeks later by miners who tunneled through solid rock to reach them, in a rescue that entranced the nation.

"I said to myself, I'm not dying here ... it'll take a bit more than a bit of rock to stop me," Russell told Nine. "I've had a few blues [fights] in my life but I've never fought that hard."

Webb spoke of desperation as he heard rescuers bore toward them.

"I was a caged rat ... `get me out of here,' you know, I just didn't want to be there," Webb said. "This is really bad, this is a really bad scenario," he said.

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