'Sing a Kenny Rogers song - it worked for me'

After surviving 14 days trapped in a collapsed Australian mine, Todd Russell has a few words of wisdom for the miners in Chile: Keep your sense of humour. Support each other. And belting out a rendition of Kenny Rogers' The Gambler never hurts.

In 2006, Russell and fellow miner Brant Webb found themselves buried half a mile underground, after an earthquake at a gold mine in Tasmania. They were trapped in the 4ft-tall safety cage.

"Mentally, it's going to be very hard," said Russell, 38.

But it was the mental anguish more than the physical that presented the biggest challenge. To overcome it, Russell said, they swapped jokes, told tall tales and reassured each other that they would live.

"We used each other as sounding boards," he said. Five days after becoming trapped, they were singing The Gambler - the only song they both knew - when they heard a rescuer's voice from above.