Five years later, here are some surprising facts you might not know about the rescue:
After days of searching for the miners turned up no signs of life, Chile's then-President Sebastian Piñera special ordered a cross to memorialize the men, just in case. "What if we don't find them? In 17 days, 20 days, one month, two months?," Piñera said in a recent interview with CNN's Rosa Flores. "What if we find them and they're all dead?"
Today, the large white cross welcomes visitors to the mine rescue site, marking where the miners believe God stood during their miraculous rescue.
A 5-inch wide hole became the miners' lifeline, a vessel for food, water and supplies. When the time came for the rescue, the miners were told to wear special elastic socks to help their cardiovascular systems. The only color available was pink. Dr. Andres Llarena recalls that the miners didn't want to wear them because of the color, and they asked whether they could get them in brown or black. "Wear them!" Llarena said sternly.
Signs of life
This sign is one of the most valuable treasures in miner Alex Vega's house. The sign was underground with the men, pointing to the emergency area of the mine where the men gathered and prayed. Now, the sign's arrow points to the front door of the house Vega shares with his family. "That," Vega said as he pointed to his home, "... is my refuge."
'No one stays under'
Dr. Jean Romagnoli was one of the doctors on site overseeing the health and well-being of the miners. His job was to keep the men alive. His daunting task led to a promise written on his hard hat, "Nadie se queda abajo," or "No one stays under."
The miners came to know Romagnoli very well through that 5-inch tube half-a-mile deep. He would load iPods with music for them, even accepting special music requests. He also recorded physical training videos, hoping the miners would lose weight and manage to fit inside the Phoenix rescue capsule. As the 33 men started emerging from deep underground, Romagnoli asked them to sign their name on his hard hat.
A gift for the doctor
This could be the most valuable Chilean miner memento out there. It's what Romagnoli believes is a heavy rock filled with gold from the San Jose mine. While the miners were still underground, they labeled the rock with the number 33 and gifted it to Romagnoli. While the hefty rock could be worth a fortune if it is, indeed, filled with gold, Romagnoli is not interested in selling it. The personal value he places on it surpasses its weight in gold.