750 journalists have descended on a dusty, otherwise uninhabited stretch
of Chilean desert to catch a glimpse of rescue efforts to evacuate 33
miners that have been trapped for two months, Associated Press reports.
With the nearest store an hour’s drive away, taxi drivers have doubled their fares ($120 each way) and locals are renting tents for $580. Hotels in the region are all booked up.
“The mine area lacks any amenities and is about an hour from the closest store, by dirt road to Atacama’s regional capital of Copiapo, or over loose gravel to the Pacific coast. Word around the camp is that journalists hungry for the story — or for something to eat — have suffered at least 17 accidents while speeding along these roads.”
AP notes that the City of Copiapo has set up food station offering free sandwiches and coffee to journalists and family members of the trapped miners, writing:
“But there are so many journalists on the story that the trapped men’s relatives largely stay away except for on weekends. The few families that have zealously maintained a vigil at the mine since the Aug. 5 collapse are swarmed by the swelling media here.
Now that the escape shaft has reached the miners and some preparation remains before the rescue can begin, camera crews are restless, pouncing on anything that moves for fresh images.”