Watch CBSN Live

Author: We Saw "PG" Version of Chile Mine Rescue

On Sunday night's "60 Minutes," correspondent Bob Simon reported on Chile's 33 rescued miners and their difficult recovery from the ordeal. For his report, Simon interviewed author Jonathan Franklin, who has written book called "33 Men."

Franklin stopped by "The Early Show" Monday to share insight into the aftermath of the mine collapse and subsequent rescue.

"They actually considered cannibalism. How close do that did they get?" co-anchor Erica Hill asked Franklin.

"Much closer than anybody realizes. We really saw like the 'PG' version of this rescue. There was a lot more going on behind the scenes. They told me they were just days away from having to eat one of their companions. They even said we had the pot and the saw ready," he replied.

"They knew exactly how they would do it?" Hill asked.

"Every night before they went to sleep, the miners would roll up their clothes, leave their shoes neat and orderly and they said I'm probably going to die tonight, at least I want them to find my body if we all die together, find my body dignified and ordered," he explained.

"We got this picture of optimism and they were praying every day. And ultimately down there, they were really tearing their hair out," Hill remarked.

"There was a lot of positive things going on. And remarkably, humor was an important part of keeping them alive and happy. But really there was so much more chaos. This was a playbook that was written. Every day people had to invent solutions. I think, as I researched the book, I found all these circumstances where just one small move and they would have died," Franklin said.

As Franklin explained, there wasn't just the single collapse that trapped the miners.

"This was a mine that was so unsafe that it was constantly what they called 'raining.' Which means boulders falling down, crashing. Even the day of the rescue, there was two avalanches inside the mine. And one of those avalanches even cut off the fiber optic cable so they had to dub in a fake signal to the world while the whole world was watching this picture-perfect rescue, some of that was just a loop from earlier because they had major avalanche inside the tunnel," he said.

Asked how much of that information the miners had underground, Franklin said, "The miners knew quite a bit. The government was very good about informing the miners. They didn't whitewash it. They didn't sugarcoat it to the miners. And they needed the miners. People forget that this rescue depended on the miners underground who are hard-working, very talented guys, to be coordinating with above ground. It made no sense to hide from the miners. But there was this pact between the miners and the rescue workers that the rest of the world wouldn't know.

So how are the miners doing now?

"Really, they had a honeymoon. For the first month, maybe two months, they were celebrities, they were smiling. They celebrated the small things like light, going to the beach, sleeping on a bed, taking a shower. But now the nightmares are coming back. I think if you read my book, you won't ask why are they having nightmares. What they lived, nobody should have ever lived.

Asked if they are getting the support they need, Franklin said, "No. These guys, they don't like psychologists, they don't go to appointments they're supposed to. The psychologists don't understand them very well. So there's this clash of cultures. What they need is a group therapy. They need to go to the beach for a month and have somebody pay the bill and say talk it out."

"What are they doing now in terms of work?" Hill asked.

"Their life is really falling apart. Because what's happening now is their medical disability is getting cut off. So they can't get their disability checks but they're too afraid to go underground. Of all the 33, only two or three really feel comfortable in the dark. These guys, some of them sleep with the lights on," Franklin said.