COPIAPO, Chile — Chilean officials are trying to decide what to do with the three rescue capsules built specially to bring out the 33 miners who were trapped a half-mile underground for 69 days.
For now, the Phoenix 2 capsule that was used in the operation will be placed on the Plaza of the Constitution in front of Chile's presidential palace. One of the backup capsules will be in Copiapo, the town where many of workers at the San Jose mine live, and the other is being sent to China for display in Chile's exhibit at the Shanghai Expo.
Interior Minister Rodrigo Hinzpeter said Sunday that while officials decide what to do with the capsules, the actual rescue vehicle will be in the capital of Santiago "for all the Chileans who want to know it, see it or take a photograph."
At least two cities are vying to become the permanent home for that capsule. One is Copiapo, 50 miles west of the mine, where Mayor Maglio Cicardini is campaigning to get it. The other is Talcahuano, 1,300 miles south, where officials feel entitled to it because the capsules were built there at a Chilean navy workshop.
That is likely to please Copiapo's mayor, but the town leader isn't happy about sending the Phoenix 2 capsule to Santiago. He called the idea "horrible."
"We will demand that this capsule stay here in Copiapo," Cicardini told Bio Bio radio.
The capsules were named Phoenix 1, 2 and 3, a reference to the mythological bird reborn from the ashes. They were painted in the red, white and blue of Chile's national flag.