Finally! Problem Free Rescue Of Chilean Miners See Light Of Day

With remarkable speed – and flawless execution – miner after miner climbed into a cramped cage deep beneath the Chilean earth, was hoisted through 2,000 feet of rock and saw precious sunlight after the longest underground entrapment in history.

By 1.55am BST all 33 had been pulled to freedom, as the operation was completed in half the expected time.

After 69 days underground, including two weeks during which they were feared dead, the men 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. 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.

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.

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