View Full Version : 33 Miners trapped in Chile found ALIVE!!!

08-23-2010, 06:20 AM
33 Miners trapped in a gold mine for two weeks were found alive!!!

They dug a hole and put a cable with a camera on it. When they pulled the cable out, there were two notes attached, saying they were alive, well, and had found shelter in a "cave" they dug, along with water they found while digging. They had a picture of a miner smiling into the camera. Only bad news is it may take up to 4 months to get them out.

Experts say the gold mines pose little risk to the miners if they are provided with food, water and oxygen until they can be rescued.

What a wonderful Christmas this will be for those poor miners and their families.

08-23-2010, 06:26 AM
I hope the ppl can take them out before 4 months. I hope they can survive till that time. Hope they get everything they need as soon as possible. Prayers for the miners :)

Miss Z
08-23-2010, 08:58 AM
What an incredible story. Good job those miners had the nous to dig and make the situation safer! I hope the rescue efforts can free them soon.

08-23-2010, 09:41 AM
Any spelunker such as myself can tell you that it's actually quite comfortable temperature wise in most caves....and there is usually water to be found.
Still....4 months would kinda freak me out.

08-23-2010, 09:42 AM
Well, they can get food and water down there...and maybe a TV or computer, with power connected via a line to the top?

What a miracle!

08-23-2010, 09:43 AM
You are a spelunker Wom?

08-23-2010, 10:00 AM
You are a spelunker Wom?

Oh yeah.....been doing that ever since I was a teenager.

08-23-2010, 02:17 PM
Any spelunker such as myself can tell you that it's actually quite comfortable temperature wise in most caves....and there is usually water to be found.
Still....4 months would kinda freak me out.

Oh, so you admit you are a Dirty Spelunker?;)


No, People are saying Christmas? I want out before Thanksgiving!:D

God bless 'em. He'll take care of them and get them out

08-23-2010, 02:25 PM
Thank goodness they were found, and if they can get a wire down, they can get some food, maybe in small pieces, but now at least the families know their loved ones are alive and relatively safe for the moment.

08-23-2010, 03:03 PM
:) That is good news that they are all alive.. That is bad news that it will take 4 months to get them out.. Worse news is the body oders & stirr crazy to happen..

08-23-2010, 06:59 PM

Last I heard was it'll take 4 months to drill down far enough to be able to get them out.

08-25-2010, 11:48 AM

Last I heard was it'll take 4 months to drill down far enough to be able to get them out.

I heard that too and they are almost completely out of food and fluid.

08-25-2010, 07:05 PM
Oh, so you admit you are a Dirty Spelunker?;)

Filthy dirty. :p

08-25-2010, 07:35 PM
They are using tubes called "doves" to get fluid and food down to them.

I read somewhere that the underground shelter they are in is about 1 square mile or something.

They do have an audio connection so family and friends can communicate with them. Apparently people in such a situation can forget who they are in their community - so such a connection is essential.

08-26-2010, 03:51 AM
Light is essential in situations like that.
No light, and they can go insane very quickly.

08-26-2010, 09:18 AM
Will someone please tell me what a spelunker is???

08-26-2010, 08:00 PM
Will someone please tell me what a spelunker is???

A caver, Donna. ;)


08-30-2010, 06:52 PM
The pictures of these gentlemen coming up from the mine must be a tremendous comfort to their families and friends. On this morning's news they showed a clip where one of the trapped miners asked his girlfriend to marry him :love:

08-31-2010, 05:18 PM
These guys need prayers for the long haul...


'Unprecedented' challenge to save Chilean miners

1 hour, 3 minutes ago

By Bradley Brooks, The Associated Press

SAN JOSE MINE, Chile - The effort to save 33 Chilean men trapped deep in a mine is an unprecedented challenge, mining safety experts said Tuesday. It means months of drilling, then a harrowing three-hour trip in a cage up a narrow hole carved through solid rock.

If all of that is successful, the freed men will emerge from the earth and "feel born again," said an American miner who was part of a group dramatically rescued in 2002 with similar techniques. But that rescue pulled men from a spot only one-tenth as deep.

"They're facing the most unusual rescue that has ever been dealt with," said Dave Feickert, director of KiaOra, a mine safety consulting firm in New Zealand that has worked to improve China's dangerous mines. "Every one of these rescues presents challenging issues. But this one is unique."

First, engineers must use a 31-ton drill to create a "pilot" hole from the floor of the Atacama Desert down 2,200 feet (700 metres) to the area in the San Jose mine where the men wait.

Then, the drill must be fitted with a larger bit to carve out a rescue chimney that will be about 26 inches (66 centimetres) wide a task that means guiding the drill through solid rock while keeping the drill rod from snapping or getting bogged down as it nears its target.

Finally, the men must be brought up one at a time inside a specially built cage a trip that will take three hours each. Just hauling the men up will itself take more than four days if there are no problems.

"Nothing of this magnitude has happened before; it's absolutely unheard of," said Alex Gryska, a mine rescue manager with the Canadian government.

Gryska said he is confident Chile's state-run Codelco mining company, with its vast expertise in the world's top copper-producing nation, would successfully drill the hole out. But he said he is worried about the three to four months officials say it will take to do so and the key role the miners themselves will play in their own rescue.

Chilean officials said the miners will have to remove upward of 3,000 tons of rock as it falls into the area where they are trapped. There is little danger to the men the area includes a shelter and about 500 metres (yards) of a shaft outside that. But as the rock starts to fall a month from now, the men will work in nonstop shifts to remove it with wheelbarrows and industrial sweepers.

"The thing that concerns me is welfare of workers, their mental state. That will be real tough," said Gryska. "From a health perspective, it's hot down there. They're talking about working 24/7 in 85 degrees for two months. Their mental state for that work will be critical."

Early on, Chile's Health Minister Jaime Manalich said at least five of the men showed signs of depression. But spirits have improved with a supply of water, food, special clothes to keep them dry in damp conditions and the first verbal communication with loved ones this week.

Chilean officials met with four "life sciences" specialists from NASA on Tuesday in Santiago.

Michael Duncan, NASA's deputy chief medical officer who is leading the team in Chile, said his group had been asked to provide help in nutrition and behavioural health.

Duncan, speaking at a news conference in Santiago, said his team viewed two videos the miners made of themselves and their surroundings and they clearly raised some concern about weight loss.

He said a priority was increasing the miners' caloric intake, getting them on a regular sleep schedule and ensuring they remain optimistic.

"These miners showed us tremendous strength in surviving as long as they did without any contact with the surface," he said. "What we want to try to avoid is any kind of situation of hopelessness on the part of the miners."

That could mean increasing their contact with the outside world including bringing in celebrities or even astronauts who have survived long periods of isolation in space, Duncan said.

If the miners remain healthy during their long period underground and if the drilling goes as planned, they will then face the ordeal of being stuffed into a tubular, metal cage for three hours as they are slowly pulled up.

Experts say one of the few times such a technique was used was when nine U.S. miners were hauled out of the flooded Quecreek Mine near Somerset, Pennsylvania, in 2002. But those men were trapped for just three days 73 metres (240 feet) underground.

Quecreek survivor Mark Popernack noted the Chilean miners "already went through more than what we went through," but the Somerset, Pennsylvania, resident said no matter the method, "to come up is the best thing in the world."

"If they make it, if they get that hole drilled, when they come out of there, they'll feel like they're being born again," said Popernack.

"Enjoy the ride, that's my advice to them," he said. "It'll be a long ride, but they'll enjoy it. Because when they see the light of day, they're going to feel pretty good."

09-21-2010, 11:04 AM
Copiapo, Chile - Workers in Chile expect to be able to rescue 33 trapped miners by mid-October, rather than early November as originally anticipated, a news report said Tuesday.

A relative of Ignacio Ortega kisses the picture of one of the miners trapped inside the San Jose gold and copper mine, near Copiapo, 800 km north of Santiago, on September 12, 2010.
Photograph by: HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images)

The daily El Mercurio newspaper, citing unnamed government sources, reported that officials said state-of-the-art drilling equipment at the scene has made faster-than-expected progress in efforts to reach the men, who have been trapped underground since an August 5 mine collapse.

"There is a chance of completing the operation before President (Sebastian) Pinera departs for Europe on the 15th" of October, one official was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

Shortly after the mine collapse, Chilean authorities warned that it was unlikely that they would be able to free the men before Christmas, but later said a rescue could take place as early as November.

Speaking this past Sunday, Mining Minister Laurence Golborne said he would not officially change the rescue timeline, but nevertheless suggested it could happen more quickly than originally anticipated.

"We have always spoken of the first days of November, but the plans now are slightly ahead of schedule," he said.

"We are gaining a day here and a day there, but we do not claim victory or generate unrealistic expectations, since we are talking about an inexact science," Golborne said, noting the complexities and safety concerns of drilling through layers of granite rock.

The rescue effort involves digging down more than 600 meters (about 2,000 feet) to get to the miners trapped since a cave-in August 5.

The men 32 Chileans and one Bolivian have survived underground longer than anyone on record.

They are being supplied with food, water, medicine and entertainment through three supply holes, which also carry communication lines to the surface, where family members have been camped at the entrance.
Copyright (c) AFP

Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/world/Chile+could+rescue+miners+October+Report/3556495/story.html#ixzz10BFxeHMg

10-04-2010, 07:38 PM

Chile president sees miners rescued before Oct. 15

1 hour, 44 minutes ago

By Vivian Sequera, The Associated Press

SAN JOSE MINE, Chile - Chile's president said Monday that his government is "very close" to pulling 33 trapped miners to safety and he hopes to be there in person to see the rescue before leaving on a trip to Europe.

It was Sebastian Pinera who told the miners after they were found alive Aug. 22 that they would be saved by Christmas, and his government has assembled a team of hundreds to support them while three simultaneous drilling operations pound escape shafts through a half-mile of rock.

The drilling has gone well enough to move up the date since then, but rescue leaders have been cautious: Only last week, they estimated a late-October pullout.

Now the president has changed the expected date again, to before his Oct. 15-22 trip.

"We are very close to rescuing them, and I hope to be able to rescue them before leaving for Europe," he told a group of Chilean radio broadcasters Monday. "We are trying to adjust the two schedules."

"For me it is very important to share this moment not only with the 33 miners, but with their families and all Chileans," Pinera added.

The miners also are getting ready for their big day. For the last two weeks, they've been sending keepsakes up in the same capsules that carry food, clean clothes, medicine and other supplies down through a narrow borehole to their underground cavern. Letters from their families, signed Chilean flags and other things they don't want to leave behind are coming up out of the hole each day, said Alberto Iturra, the chief of a team of psychologists supporting the miners.

Told of Pinera's statement, rescue chief Andre Sougarret said he understands how anxious everyone is to rescue the men, who on Monday completed 59 days underground since the Aug. 5 collapse of more than 700,000 tons of rock sealed off the lower third of the mine.

"I understand the desire of everyone, me included, is to leave as soon as possible. Still, we can't take any risks," he said.

Setbacks also are expected. Sougarret announced that the leading T130 "Plan B" rescue drill was delayed for hours Monday to replace one of its hammers, and that the Rig 421 "Plan C" oil well drill went slightly off course in the gold and copper mine. Now the "Plan C" team is recalibrating their drill, slowing its advance. And the "Plan A" drill, which trails the other two, has been stalled since Saturday to change its hammers.

"As of now we don't have anything new that would enable us to move up the date" from the second half of October, Souggaret said.

Only when the T130 drill has reached the miners, and the team has lowered a video camera to painstakingly examine the walls of the shaft, will the rescue team decide whether to reinforce the shaft with steel tubing. That process could extend the miners' stay for three to 10 more days, but would ensure their safety should the unstable mine shift on their way up.

One of the miners, Mario Sepulveda, turned 40 Monday. Rescuers sang "Happy Birthday" to him by telephone, and sent down 33 little cakes in the "carrier pigeon" capsule that has served as their lifeline.

Also Monday, members of the mine's union protested in a plaza in Copiapo, the regional capital, demanding their pay for the second half of September and any other remaining benefits owed them by the San Esteban mining company.

smokey the elder
10-05-2010, 02:51 PM
They want to be extra careful; these fellows have lived almost 2 months underground. I know they had NASA folks helping with the mental health aspects of being isolated. I'm surprised that they didn't also consult a Navy about how submarine crews manage for months-long tours under the ocean.

10-05-2010, 04:17 PM
They want to be extra careful; these fellows have lived almost 2 months underground. I know they had NASA folks helping with the mental health aspects of being isolated. I'm surprised that they didn't also consult a Navy about how submarine crews manage for months-long tours under the ocean.

They did have a 'sub' team in for a consultation....


I can hardly wait for them to get out....is that going to be a party!:D

10-06-2010, 01:06 PM
I'm wondering about the effects on their health of no exposure to natural light for this long a period of time.

smokey the elder
10-06-2010, 02:15 PM
I reckon they are being provided with Vitamin D supplements. As far as the mental health aspects of natural light, maybe they're sending down natural spectrum lights in the palomas.

I think they don't want to get the miners' hopes up too much about an earlier than expected rescue. The miners are involved in their own rescue by clearing rubble from the drilling, which has to be quite therapeutic in its own right; they aren't just helplessly waiting.

This has got to be the most amazing rescue attempt ever.

10-09-2010, 07:46 AM
From the Washington Post -

10-09-2010, 09:32 AM
Wonderful, almost there....! Praying hard for a safe escape for each one of those brave men.

Apparently they will each be getting special sunglasses to ward off the glare of daylight after being in darkness for so long, and will be taken to hospital immediately.

Hopefully the press will leave them alone for a while. They have a long period of readjustment ahead, and lots of attention will make it harder for them. They're just working guys with families, after all. :)

10-09-2010, 03:14 PM
I want to dedicate this song to the miners....

Who is the man
that would risk his neck for his brother man?
Can ya dig it?
Who's the cat that won't cop out
when there's danger all about
Right on
You see this cat Shaft is a bad mother-
(Shut your mouth)
But I'm talkin' about Shaft
(Then we can dig it)

Mine Shaft!!!!! ;)

10-09-2010, 09:45 PM
Oh brother Richard! LOL!
I've been thinking about these guys all the time. I can't imagine. I would have definately not survived. I get claustrophobic wearing BOOTS! The idea of not being able to get out of a space would drive me to the brink.
I've heard that some millionaire has given them each $10,000 which in Chile is a BOATLOAD of money. Hopefully they can recover and prosper.
I really admire the team of medics that chose to go down into the shaft to help them. They are risking their own lives for others and are heros as well.
Good and positive thoughts for all. I hope 10/10/10 is a lucky day for everyone!

10-10-2010, 08:59 AM

Chile rescuers reinforce shaft for miners' escape

50 minutes ago

By Cesar Illiano

COPIAPO, Chile (Reuters) - Chilean rescuers on Sunday reinforced an escape shaft to hoist 33 miners to freedom, bringing their stunning survival story close to its climax two months after they were trapped deep underground.

Engineers have drilled a narrow, nearly 2,050 foot-long (625-meter) shaft to evacuate the men, who have been using explosives to make room for a special capsule dubbed "Phoenix" that will lift them one-by-one to the surface.

The rescuers were inserting metal tubes to line the first 330 feet of the duct to strengthen it, and the government expects to start the evacuation on Wednesday in one of the most complex rescue attempts in mining history.

"At the moment, we're starting to send down the first tubes," said Andre Sougarret, who is leading the rescue operations.

"We hope to finish putting the tubing in place within the next 24 hours," he added.

More than two months have passed since the men were trapped when the mine collapsed. Spontaneous celebrations broke out across Chile on Saturday as news of the drilling breakthrough spread.

After weeks of prayers, vigils and simply waiting, there was laughter and music at the make-shift camp called Camp Hope that relatives have set up near the mouth of the mine.

Drivers honked car horns in the capital Santiago and people waved flags in towns across a country still recovering from the ravages of a massive February 27 earthquake.

The men's' relatives -- who danced, sang, cheered and sobbed when the drill broke through 65 days after the August 5 collapse at the small gold and copper mine in Chile's far northern Atacama desert -- could barely wait.

"I have held back tears until now, but the joy is now too great," said Cristina Nunez, whose partner Claudio Nunez is among the trapped. "I'm so happy he will be with us by my daughter's birthday!"

Among the families is weeks-old baby girl Esperanza, or "Hope," whose father is trapped miner Ariel Ticona. Ticona's wife, Elizabeth, named their daughter after the camp erected by the miners' families.

Ticona saw the birth on a video sent down a narrow bore hole that served as a life line to pass water and food to keep the men alive during the ordeal, and yearns to hold his daughter for the first time.

Once the men are winched to the surface, they will be given astronaut-style medical checks in a field hospital set up at the mine. Then they will be able to spend some time with their families, before being flown by helicopter to nearby Copiapo to be stabilized at another hospital.

The men have set a world record for the length of time workers have survived underground after a mining accident. After spending so long below ground in a humid, dimly-lit tunnel, their eyesight will need time to adjust.

"They will come to the surface with their eyes closed and will immediately put on dark glasses which will protect them from the light," Health Minister Jaime Manalich said. "They will keep them on night and day ... until they get used to natural light."

The miners are in remarkably good health, although some have developed skin infections.

The government brought in a team of experts from the U.S. NASA space agency to help keep the men mentally and physically fit during the protracted rescue, which has gripped the world and drawn messages of support from Pope Benedict and World Cup soccer stars.

The men lost an estimated 22 pounds (10 kg) each in the 17 days before they were found.

(Writing by Simon Gardner and Helen Popper, editing by Philip Barbara)

10-12-2010, 10:14 PM
Rock on!

32 to go.:D

10-13-2010, 07:54 AM
I can't believe they survived this long. It is a miracle!

10-13-2010, 08:34 AM

Photo Gallery: http://ca.news.yahoo.com/nphotos/slideshow/ss/events/wl/100405_mining/im:/13102010/2/photo/world-rescued-miner-juan-illanes-arrives-hospital-copiapo-chile-wednesday.html

Chile rejoices over problem-free rescue of miners

47 minutes ago

By Frank Bajak,Vivian Sequera, The Associated Press

SAN JOSE MINE, Chile - The miners emerged like clockwork, jubilantly embracing wives, children and rescuers and looking remarkably composed Wednesday after languishing for 69 days in the depths of a mine that easily could have been their tomb.

(I just had to post this one)

The anxiety that had accompanied the final days of preparation melted away at 12:11 a.m. when the stoutest of the 33 miners, Florencio Avalos, emerged from the missile-like rescue capsule smiling broadly after his half-mile journey to the surface.

In a din of cheers, he hugged his sobbing 7-year-old son and wife and then President Sebastian Pinera, who has been deeply involved in an effort that had become a matter of national pride.

The most ebullient of the bunch came out second, an hour later.

"I think I had extraordinary luck. I was with God and with the devil. And I reached out for God," said Mario Sepulveda as he awaited the air force helicopter ride to a nearby hospital where all the miners were to spend 48 hours under medical observation.

Eleven men were pulled from the mine at a methodical pace in roughly the first nine and a half hours of the operation, putting the rescue on track to end before the sun rises Thursday, barring any major glitches.

The miners have survived more time trapped underground than anyone on record, and the world was captivated by their endurance and unity as officials carefully planned their rescue.

Health Minister Jaime Manalich told a news conference after eight miners were rescued that all of them were in good health, and none has needed any special medication, not even the diabetic among them.

Chile exploded in joy and relief at the first, breakthrough rescue just after midnight in the coastal Atacama desert.

In the capital, Santiago, a cacophony of motorists' horns sounded. In the nearby regional capital of Copiapo, from which 24 of the miners hail, the mayor cancelled school so parents and children could "watch the rescue in the warmth of the home."

All-news channels from North America to Europe and the Middle East carried live coverage. Pope Benedict XVI said in Spanish that he "continues with hope to entrust to God's goodness" the fate of the men. Iran's state English-language Press TV followed events live until President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad touched down in Lebanon on his first state visit there.

After the fifth miner made his ascent, the rescuers paused to lubricate the spring-loaded wheels that gave the 13-foot-tall capsule a smooth ride through the shaft. Then they brought up the sixth and seventh.

The ninth, Mario Gomez, who at 63 is the oldest miner, came up about an hour later and dropped to his knees and bowed his head in prayer. His wife, Lilianette Ramirez, pulled him up from the ground and embraced him. Gomez has silicosis, a lung disease common to miners, and has been on antibiotics and bronchial inflammation medicine.

The entire rescue operation was meticulously choreographed, with no expense spared in bringing in topflight drillers and equipment — and boring three separate holes into the copper and gold mine.

Mining is Chile's lifeblood, providing 40 per cent of state earnings, and Pinera put his mining minister and the operations chief of state-owned Codelco, the country's biggest company, in charge of the rescue. It went so well that its managers abandoned what a legion of journalists had deemed an ultraconservative plan for restricting images of the rescue.

A huge Chilean flag that was to obscure the hole from view was moved aside so the hundreds of cameras perched on a hill above could record images that state TV also fed live.

That included the surreal moment when the capsule dropped into the chamber for the first time where the bare-chested miners, most stripped down to shorts because of the subterranean swelter, mobbed the rescuer who emerged to serve as their guide to freedom.

"This rescue operation has been so marvelous, so clean, so emotional that there was no reason not to allow the eyes of the world — which have been watching this operation so closely — to see it," a beaming Pinera told a news conference after Avalos was brought to the surface.

When the last man surfaces, it promises to end a national crisis that began when 700,000 tons of rock collapsed Aug. 5, sealing the 33 in the lower reaches of the mine. For 17 days after that, no one even knew whether the miners had survived.

Avalos, the 31-year-old second-in-command of the miners, was chosen to be first out because he was in the best condition. When the capsule came out of the manhole-sized opening, and Avalos stepped out as bystanders cheered, clapped and broke into a chant of the country's name — "Chi! Chi! Chi! Le! Le! Le!"

The next three men out, including the lone foreigner, Carlos Mamani of Bolivia, followed because they were deemed the fittest of body and mind. The 10 to follow included miners with health problems such as hypertension, diabetes and skin ulcers.

Sepulveda's shouts were heard even before the capsule surfaced. After hugging his wife, he jokingly handed souvenir rocks from the mine to laughing rescuers. Then he bounded out behind other officials behind a barrier and thrust a fist upward like a prizefighter.

Putting him on a gurney for a short ambulance ride to a triage centre — the protocol for all the miners — almost seemed like overkill.

The operation commenced just before midnight when a Codelco rescuer made the sign of the cross and was lowered to the trapped men. A navy paramedic went down after Avalos came up — a surprise improvisation as officials had said the two would go down to oversee the miners' ascent before the first went up.

The last miner was slated to be shift foreman Luis Urzua, whose leadership was credited for helping the men endure the first two and a half weeks without outside contact. The men made 48 hours' worth of rations last before rescuers reached them with a narrow bore hole to send down more food.

Janette Marin, sister-in-law of miner Dario Segovia, said the order of rescue didn't matter.

"This won't be a success unless they all get out," she said.

Chilean officials played down the risks of the rescue.

Panic attacks during the ascent, they said, were the biggest concern. The miners were not sedated — they needed to be alert in case something went awry. Health Minister Jaime Manaliget said rescuers could accelerate the capsule to its maximum speed of 3 metres per second if necessary.

Rescue co-ordinator Andre Sougarett told The Associated Press beforehand that the worst technical problem would be the possibility that "a rock could fall" and jam the capsule in the shaft.

But Davitt McAteer, who directed the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration during the Clinton administration, said there were many risks: A miner could get claustrophobic and somehow jam the capsule, the cable could get hung up, or the rig that pulls the cable could overheat.

"You can be good and you can be lucky. And they've been good and lucky," McAteer told the AP just before the operation commenced. "Knock on wood that this luck holds out for the next 33 hours."

The CEO of the Austrian company that made the capsule's winch and pulley system said there was no danger of the motor overheating because the winch was not working under maximum capacity.

Mining Minister Laurence Golborne, whose management of the crisis has made him a media star in Chile, insisted all had been considered.

"There is no need to try to start guessing what could go wrong. We have done that job," Golborne said. "We have hundreds of different contingencies."

McAteer said he gave "very high marks" to the Chileans for creating lowered expectations by saying that it might take until Christmas to rescue the men — and then consistently delivering results ahead of schedule.

"Second, they have had very few technical problems," he said.

Rescuers finished reinforcing the top of the 2,041-foot escape shaft Monday, and capsules descended flawlessly in tests.

The capsule — the biggest of three built by Chilean navy engineers — was named Phoenix for the mythical bird that rises from ashes. It was painted in the white, blue and red of the Chilean flag.

The miners' vital signs were closely monitored throughout the ride, given a high-calorie liquid diet donated by NASA, designed to prevent nausea from any rotation of the capsule as it travels through curves in the 28-inch-diameter escape hole.

Engineers inserted steel piping at the top of the shaft, which is angled 11 degrees off vertical before plunging like a waterfall.

Drillers had to curve the shaft to pass through "virgin" rock, narrowly avoiding collapsed areas and underground open spaces in the overexploited mine, which had operated since 1885.

But Manalich said Wednesday the capsule was not rotating as officials had expected, allowing for faster trips up and down.

A video camera in the capsule watched for panic attacks. The miners also had oxygen masks and two-way voice communication. They took aspirin and wore compression socks to prevent blood clotting in the quick ascent, and wore sweaters for the change in climate — from about 90 degrees underground to near freezing on the surface after nightfall.

At the regional hospital in Copiapo, two floors were prepared for the miners to be evaluated.

U.S. President Barack Obama praised rescuers, who include the team from Center Rock Inc. of Berlin, Pa., who built and managed the piston-driven hammers that pounded open the hole.

Chile has promised that its care of the miners won't end for six months at least — not until they can be sure that each miner has readjusted.

Psychiatrists and other experts in surviving extreme situations predict their lives will be anything but normal.

Since Aug. 22, when a narrow bore hole broke through to their refuge and the miners stunned the world with a note, scrawled in red ink, disclosing their survival, their families have been exposed in ways they never imagined.

Miners had to describe their physical and mental health in detail with teams of doctors and psychologists. In some cases, when both wives and lovers claimed the same man, everyone involved had to face the consequences.

As trying as their underground ordeal has been, the miners now face challenges so bewildering that no amount of coaching can fully prepare them.

The world is intensely curious to hear their tale of survival. They have been invited to presidential palaces, take all-expenses-paid vacations and appear on countless TV shows.

Book and movie deals are pending, along with job offers. Previously unimaginable riches await a simple signature for those with savvy.

Sepulveda appeared well aware of his budding options. His performance exiting from the shaft appeared to confirm what many Chileans thought when they saw his engaging performances in videos sent up from below — that he could have a future as a TV personality.

But he tried to quash the idea as he spoke to viewers of Chile's state television channel while sitting with his wife and children shortly after his rescue.

"The only thing I'll ask of you is that you don't treat me as an artist or a journalist, but as a miner," he said. "I was born a miner and I'll die a miner."


Associated Press writers Michael Warren and Eva Vergara contributed to this report.

10-13-2010, 04:11 PM
I was watching the first miner come out in the escape capsule and was reminded of this........


The Classic Storefront Rocket Ride.:)

10-13-2010, 04:27 PM
The 21st miner, the guy with the wife and girlfriend, invited both to be there when he was to be rescued from the mine.

His wife declined but the GF did show up.

Could he have avoided the drama by claiming to be a polygamist, like the guy on the reality show?

Just wondering...:eek:;)

10-13-2010, 05:21 PM
Bienvenidos, de vuelta, a la vida.