Rescued Australian miners sign multi-million dollar media deal

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Location of Beaconsfield

The two Australian mine-workers, who were trapped for 14 days underground in a collapsed mine, have signed a media deal reportedly worth AUD$2 million for their story of survival. Local media reports that the lucrative deal, announced by the Nine Network, is believed to be the "highest ever paid to secure news talent". A planned TV special will be the outcome of a deal secured by Publishing and Broadcasting Limited (PBL), which owns the Nine Network.

Miners Todd Russell and Brant Webb were entombed nearly a kilometre underground following a cave-in on April 25 at the Beaconsfield Gold Mine in Tasmania. A third miner, Larry Knight, was killed in the rock-fall. The two survivors trapped in a wire cage, survived by drinking water seeping through rocks until rescuers managed to dig a small tunnel to deliver fresh food and water. Their tale has captured the attention of the nation, with media corporations fighting for exclusive rights to the miners' story.

The Nine Network's chief executive Eddie McGuire said under the PBL deal, Woman's Day, the Australian Women's Weekly and the Bulletin magazines would also have access to the men. The Nine Network has announced it would broadcast a two-hour special with entitled "The Great Escape."

Another deal is expected to be brokered with U.S. media. Mr McGuire said the deal would not restrict the pair from selling their story to CNN, the US Today Show and Good Morning America, who have all reportedly made contact with Mr Russell and Mr Webb this week.

Under the PBL deal, Woman's Day, the Australian Women's Weekly and the Bulletin magazines would also have access to the men, Mr McGuire said. Nine says it also wants the footage and photographs taken by the miners during their ordeal. The footage remains in the hands of the mining company.

The men, who were rescued on May 9, have not spoken publicly about the time they spent trapped underground.

See Wikipedia article: Beaconsfield mine collapse

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