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Rescued miner says he saw God, devil during captivity

By Mariano Castillo, CNN
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Rescued miner very thankful
  • Mario Sepulveda says he is going to be a new person after the rescue
  • He was the second miner rescued
  • He advocates changes to the mining sector
  • Sepulveda has high praise for doctors, psychologists

Stay with CNN for the entire rescue of the Chile miners as it happens on all our platforms, CNN TV, and the CNN App for iPhone.

(CNN) -- Having spent 69 days trapped inside the San Jose mine in Chile before being rescued, Mario Sepulveda says, he is a changed man.

"I buried 40 years of my life down there, and I'm going to live a lot longer to be a new person," he said in a video conference hours after surfacing from half a mile underground.

Sepulveda, the second miner extracted from the mine, has advice for those who take undue risks in their lives.

"I think I have learned a lot of wonderful lessons about taking the good path in life," he said. "For those of you able to call your wives or your husbands, do so."

During the time he was trapped inside the mine, Sepulveda said, he saw both good and evil.

"I was with God, and I was with the devil. They fought, and God won," he said. Sepulveda said he grabbed God's hand and never doubted that he would be rescued.

Video: Miner surfaces, hands out rocks
  • Chile
  • Mario Sepulveda

Sepulveda praised the efforts of the rescue crews but argued for reforms in the mining industry.

"I think this country has to understand once and for all that we can make change. In the area of labor, we have make many changes," he said. "I think the owner has to give the tools so that the middle managers can bring changes in terms of labor. The middle managers cannot carry on like they have."

The rescued miner had high praise for the doctors and psychologists who aided the miners via videoconference.

"They gave us our lives back. It's incredible that with 700 meters between us, and not seeing us face-to-face, they revived us," he said.

Read about how the miners' lives will be changed

With the world watching and the media attention at the mine intense, Sepulveda said he hoped to maintain a low-key profile now that they are being rescued.

"The only thing I ask personally is that you please not treat us like celebrities or journalists. I want to continue being treated like Mario Antonio Sepulveda Espinace, the worker, the miner. I love that, and I think that, in some shape, way or form, I want to continue working," he said.

Sepulveda was flanked by family members as he spoke.

"I'm very happy for all the beautiful things that were done for us," he said. "I'm very excited to be up here again."

Part of complete coverage on
How miners reached the surface
The Phoenix raises miners from their underground cell
Who are the miners?
One has led fellow workers in Elvis singalongs, another has been mining for 50 years
Miner 'saw God, devil' during ordeal
"I buried 40 years of my life down there," says Mario Sepulveda. "I was with God, and I was with the devil."
Rescue effort galvanizes Chile
The mine rescue turned into a celebration and expression of Chilean pride
The world watches
Few events have gripped the watching world in recent times as the miners' rescue
Timeline: How the drama unfolded
From cave-in to freedom -- 69 days below ground
360 panorama of rescue site
CNN's interactive gives a 360-degree sweep of the site of the Chile mine rescue