Latest News About Chilean Miners Miners Rescued
Posted 14 October 2010 - 09:04 AM
By 1.55am BST all 33 had been pulled to freedom, as the operation was completed in half the expected time.
They were closely followed by the rescue workers who had taken the capsule - nicknamed Phoenix - into the mine to oversee the evacuation.
Last man standing: Foreman Luis Urzua, who is credited with rationing food and helping the miners to stay positive, was the final miner to emerge
The last man out was Manuel Gonzalez, a mine rescue specialist and father-of-four, who have bravely volunteered to be the first to make the descent and the first human to test out the Phoenix 2 capsule.
He waved at the cameras, bowed and offered up a prayer before clambering into the capsule unaided for the last time and heading for the surface.
There were then scenes of jubilation as he emerged for the last time at 4.33am as other rescue workers jokingly asked him if he had turned out the lights and made the bed.
After 69 days underground, including two weeks during which they were feared dead, the miners emerged to the cheers of exuberant Chileans and before the eyes of a transfixed world.
Scenes of jubilation erupted every time a miner arrived at the surface of the San Jose gold and copper mine in Chile's northern Atacama desert.
But there are also concerns about the psychological impact of the ordeal on the men.
One has been treated for pneumonia and two others have dental problems, but some have been told they may be able to leave hospital later today.
The rescue is a big success for Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, who waited at the mouth of the rescue shaft to greet and hug the men as they emerged.
'Each rescue is taking 40 minutes... it could be completed today,' said a beaming Pinera, who planned to stay until the last man was out.
‘Welcome to life,’ President Pinera told Victor Segovia, the 15th miner out. On a day of superlatives, it seemed no overstatement.
The miners emerged like clockwork, jubilantly embracing wives, children and rescuers and looking remarkably composed after languishing for 69 days in the depths of a mine that easily could have been their tomb.
Rescuers' anxiety melted away at 12.11am 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 seven-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.
Relief: The son of Florencio Avalos breaks down in tears as his father arrives on the surface
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.
While the first miners to be rescued were in good shape, some have been struggling with illness and are more fragile, so medical teams were on hand to treat 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 canceled 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.
The methodical pace at which the miners were delivered from the mountain matched the rescue team's prediction that all would be free after about 36 hours, barring major glitches.
After the fifth miner, 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.
As dawn broke over the rock-strewn moonscape, eight men had been pulled from the mine in a little over seven hours, putting the rescue on track to end before the sun rises Thursday.
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.
Alex Vega became the tenth to be rescued just over 60 minutes later, and just 40 minutes after that Jorge Galleguillos was brought to safety.
Then came Jorge Galleguillos, Edison Pena Carlos Barrios, Victor Zamora, Daniel Herrara Campos and Omar Reygadas Rojas emerging triumphant from the bowels of the earth.
The entire rescue operation has been meticulously choreographed, with no expense spared in bringing in topflight drillers and equipment - and boring three separate holes into the copper and gold mine.
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.
He paid tribute to the rescue team, saying they were so good he 'even thought they could rescue us from Judgement Day'.
'Today you have won the love and the gratitude of the Chilean people,' he added.
Mr Gonzalez when asked his thoughts as he made the final journey up the shaft, said: 'I just hope this never happens again. There must be changes to mining so this can't happen again.'
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.
As the last man surfaced, it signalled the end a national crisis that began when 700,000 tons of rock collapsed August 5, sealing the 33 in the lower reaches of the mine.
The first capsule came out of the manhole-sized opening, and Avalos stepped out as bystanders cheered, clapped and broke into a chant of 'Chi! Chi! Chi! Le! Le! Le!' - the country's name.
Avalos, the 31-year-old second-in-command of the miners, was chosen to be first because he was in the best condition.
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 next group of 10 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.
After he emerged, Sepulveda criticised the mine's management, saying 'in terms of labour, there has to be change'.
Pinera promised it would.
'This mine has had a long history of accidents and that's why this mine will not reopen while it doesn't assure and guarantee the integrity, safety and life of those who work in it are clearly protected. And the same will occur with many other mines in our country,' said Pinera, who ordered a review of safety regulations after the collapse.
Minutes earlier, rescue expert Manuel Gonzalez of the state copper company Codelco grinned and made the sign of the cross as he was lowered to the trapped men - apparently without incident.
He was followed by Roberto Rios, a paramedic with the Chilean navy's special forces.
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, echoing the solidarity that the miners and people across Chile have expressed.
First out were those best able to handle any difficulties and tell their comrades what to expect.
Then, the weakest and the ill - in this case, about 10 suffer from hypertension, diabetes, dental and respiratory infections and skin lesions from the mine's oppressive humidity.
The last were people who are both physically fit and strong of character. The last man out was shift foreman Luis Urzua, whose leadership was credited with 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.
No-one in recorded history has survived as long trapped underground. For the first 17 days, no one even knew whether they were alive. In the weeks that followed, the world was captivated by their endurance and unity.
Chile has taken extensive precautions to ensure the miners' privacy, using a screen to block the top of the shaft from the more than 1,000 journalists at the scene.
The rescue was carried live on all-news channels from the U.S. to Europe and the Middle East.
The miners were ushered through a tunnel built of metal containers to an ambulance for a trip of several hundred yards to a triage station for a medical check before being flown by helicopter to a hospital in Copiapo, a 10-minute ride away.
Two floors at the hospital were prepared for the miners to receive physical and psychological exams while being kept under observation in a ward as dark as a movie theatre.
They will stay there for at least three days, but are likely to receive psychological counselling for months to get over their horrific ordeal.
Each miner wore special Oakley sunglasses to protect their eyes from light and the sun for the later miners, and the U.S. company is expected to get $41million in exposure from the rescue operation.
Relatives were urged to wait to greet the miners at home after a 48-hour hospital stay.
Health Minister Jaime Manalich said no cameras or interviews will be allowed until the miners are released, unless the miners expressly desire it.
The only media allowed to record them coming out of the shaft was a government photographer and Chile's state TV channel, whose live broadcast was delayed by 30 seconds or more to prevent the release of anything unexpected.
Photographers and camera operators were on a platform more than 300 feet (90 meters) away.
The worst technical problem that could have happened, rescue coordinator Andre Sougarett said, is that 'a rock could fall,' potentially jamming the capsule in the shaft.
The rescue was risky simply because no-one else has ever tried to extract miners from such depths, said Davitt McAteer, who directed the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration in the Clinton administration.
'You can be good and you can be lucky. And they've been good and lucky,' McAteer added.
'Knock on wood that this luck holds out for the next 33 hours.'
Mining Minister Laurence Golborne, whose management of the crisis has made him a media star in Chile, said authourities had already thought of everything.
'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.'
As for the miners, Manalich said 'they're actually much more relaxed than we are'.
Rescuers finished reinforcing the top of the 2,041-foot escape shaft on Monday, and the 13-foot capsule 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 were monitored closely in the capsule. A video camera watched for panic attacks.
They also had oxygen masks and two-way voice communication. Their pulse, skin temperature and respiration rate were measured by a monitor around their abdomens.
To prevent blood clotting from the quick ascent, they took aspirin and wore compression socks.
They were given a high-calorie liquid diet donated by Nasa, designed to keep them from vomiting as the capsule rotated 10 to 12 times through curves in the 28-inch-diameter escape hole.
The miners also had sweaters for the shift in climate from about 90 degrees underground to near freezing on the surface after nightfall.
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, avoiding collapsed areas and underground open spaces in the overexploited mine, which had operated since 1885.
Neighbours looked forward to barbecues and parties to replace the vigils held since their friends were trapped.
Urzua's neighbours said he probably insisted on being the last one up.
'He's a very good guy - he keeps everybody's spirits up and is so responsible - he's going to see this through to the end,' said Angelica Vicencio, who has led a nightly vigil outside the Urzua home in Copiapo.
U.S. President Barack Obama praised rescuers, who include many Americans.
'While that rescue is far from over and difficult work remains, we pray that by God's grace, the miners will be able to emerge safely and return to their families soon,' he said.
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 one has readjusted.
Psychiatrists and other experts in surviving extreme situations predict their lives will be anything but normal.
Since August 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.
Posted 14 October 2010 - 09:06 AM
August 5 - 33 miners are trapped underground when part of the San Jose mine in Chile's Atacama desert collapses.
August 7 - A second collapse blocks access to the lower parts of the mine, hampering rescue efforts. Attempts are made to drill holes to the miners, but no contact is made.
August 22 - Rescue workers hear tapping on a drill that has reached a depth of 688 metres. The miners are confirmed to be alive. First video of the miners is recorded and shows them to be in a better condition than feared.
August 23 - Food, water and communication equipment are sent down a hole to the miners.
August 30 - Rescuers decide the best way to free the miners is to drill three shafts and winch them to safety.
September 26 - The first of three rescue capsules built to lift out the men arrives at the mine.
October 9 - The miners celebrate as a drilling rig breaks through into their underground chamber. It is decided that only the first 96 metres of the shaft need to be reinforced.
October 11 - A test rescue capsule is successfully sent to within 40ft of the men
October 12 - Rescue operation begins
October 14 - All 33 miners and six rescuers are pulled out
Posted 14 October 2010 - 09:07 AM
1. 4.04am (October 13) - Florencio Avalos, 31
2. 5.10am - Mario Sepulveda Espina, 40
3. 6.08am - Juan Illanes, 52
4. 7.09am - Carlos Mamani, 24
5. 8.10am - Jimmy Sanchez, 19
6. 9.34am - Osman Isidro Araya, 30
7. 10.21am - Jose Ojeda, 47
8. 11.02am - Claudio Yanez, 34
9. 11.59am - Mario Gomez, 63
10. 12.52pm - Alex Vega, 31
11. 1.31pm - Jorge Galeguillos, 55
12. 2.11pm - Edison Pena, 34
13. 2.54pm - Carlos Barrios, 27
14. 3.30pm - Victor Zamora, 34
15. 4.07pm - Victor Segovia, 48
16. 4.49pm - Daniel Herrera, 37
17. 5.38pm - Omar Reygadas, 56
18. 6.49pm - Esteban Rojas, 44
19. 7.27pm - Pablo Rojas, 45
20. 7.59pm - Dario Segovia, 48
21. 8.31pm - Johnny Barrios Rojas, 50
22. 9.04pm - Samuel Avalos, 43
23. 9.32pm - Carlos Bugueno, 26
24. 9.59pm - Jose Henriquez, 55
25. 10.24pm - Renan Avalos, 29
26. 10.51pm - Claudio Acuna, 35
27. 11.18pm - Franklin Lobos, 53
28. 11.44pm - Richard Villaroel, 23
29. 12.13am (October 14) - Juan Carlos Aguilar, 46
30. 12.37am - Raul Bustos, 40
31. 1.01am - Pedro Cortez, 25
32. 1.28am - Ariel Ticona, 28
33. 1.55am - Luis Alberto Urzua, 54
Posted 14 October 2010 - 09:16 AM
I'm sooooo glad to see a happy ending, and a happy news story for once! So great!!!