Rescued Chilean Miner Gives First Interview To Letterman

by | November 4, 2010 at 7:34 PM | Late Night, The Late Show with David Letterman, TV News

Edison Peña, one of the 33 Chilean miners rescued last month, spoke to David Letterman.  (CBS)

Edison Peña, one of the 33 Chilean miners rescued last month, spoke to David Letterman. (CBS)


Not quite an underground comic, Edison Peña still proved a good sport. One of the 33 Chilean miners rescued last month, Peña taped an appearance on the ‘Late Show with David Letterman Thursday afternoon (for broadcast later in the evening) and spoke about being trapped for 69 days, running this weekend’s New York City Marathon, and running three to six miles a day while stuck in the mine. Besides making his singing debut, Peña became the first of the miners to sit for such an in-studio interview since their rescue in October.

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Letterman asked how long he had been a miner. “I was a miner only seven or eight months before the accident happened,” Peña said. “Oh…wow,” Letterman remarked, and Peña replied, “Bad luck.” “Do you consider yourself to still be a miner? Letterman asked. “No, I’m a miner for life,” Peña said, “I’m a miner for life out of respect of my colleagues who are miners and out of respect for my country and the people of the world. I self-identify as a miner.”

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Letterman said that he was not familiar with the configuration of a mine and wondered what it was like. “The first time I walked into a mine,” Peña said, “I wanted to turn around and get out. But that wasn’t really an option, so I just kept going deeper and deeper into the mine, and I kept saying, ‘Couldn’t we just turn around?’ But it didn’t work out that way.” “A lot of people feel the same way about appearing on the show,” Letterman joked.

Letterman also asked him what a day of mining was like and if he worked in shifts. “Oh, we had lunch hour – we’d leave the mine for lunch just like everybody else. But, a day came when we didn’t go for lunch,” Peña joked, referring to the mine accident. “Sorry, boys, lunch hour’s been canceled,’” Letterman joked. Peña also later gave Letterman a treat when he got up sang one of his favorite Elvis songs for the host and the audience.

Peña will be running in the New York City Marathon on Sunday as a guest of the New York Road Runners group. Letterman asked him if he had ever run in such a long race. Peña replied, “A big marathon like this one? No, never – little ones. This is a huge challenge.” Letterman said, “But, you know, I’ve never run a marathon, but I do know that the people, when they see you on the course, will give you the support to finish.” “Yes, I don’t doubt it,” Peña replied.

Peña also later gave Letterman a treat when he got up sang one of his favorite Elvis songs for the host and the audience. The entire interview can be seen on the ‘Late Show’ tonight (11:35 PM-12:37 AM, ET/PT) on CBS.