Chile: What took you so long?, ask trapped miners

Chile flag
Santiago, Oct 10: A single ringing bell and a roar of delight from exhausted rescue workers signalled the moment on Saturday, Oct 9 when a 2,067feet shaft broke through to the 33 Chilean miners who have been trapped for 66 days.

Media reported that the miner's first reaction was 'what took you so long'.

"What the hell took you so long?" the Daily Mail quoted the miners saying to the rescuers.

"This is the greatest moment of my life. After more than two months, I finally believe my brother will come home safe. Viva Chile! We have waited so long for this day. But we have to wait longer now to see our men. But this is the beginning of the end of this nightmare for us. God be praised," one of the miner's relatives said.

In the hours before the breakthrough, nervous family members, many in tears, gathered around a small television in Camp Hope's canteen to watch live pictures from the minehead. At the moment of breakthrough, rescuers reportedly began jumping up and down in delight, a bell was rung and exhausted relatives collapsed into each other's arms.

"My emotions are overwhelming me. It is like my son has been born again. But I am still nervous. I will only believe this is real when I hold him in my arms," one miner's mother said.

Meanwhile, Chile's mining minister Laurence Golborne told that only part of a nearly 2,050 feet long escape shaft will be reinforced. The rest of it is exposed rock and the rescue team believe that it is strong enough to pull the miners to the surface, the report said.

He also added that the miners have been divided into three groups for the evacuation according to fitness.

The miners are believed to be in remarkably good health, although some have developed skin infections. During the evacuation, the miners would wear special tinted glasses to avoid damaging their eyes when they are exposed to sunlight.

The San Jose mine, near Copiapo, collapsed on Aug 5, 2010. The South American nation celebrated when all 33 men were located 17 days later. Rescuers have been passing high-energy gels, water and food underground to keep the miners alive.


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