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It's a Happy Day in Chile

Baroque And RollBaroque And Roll Registered User regular
edited October 2010 in Singularity Engine++
BBC News wrote:
The first 11 of 33 miners trapped underground for more than two months in northern Chile have been winched to the surface amid scenes of jubilation.
Continue reading the main story
Chile's Trapped Miners

Florencio Avalos was first to be freed, at 0010 local time (0310 GMT).

He was greeted by family and hugged by President Sebastian Pinera. Also to emerge were the only non-Chilean, Bolivian national Carlos Mamani, and the youngest and oldest miners.

In an address at the mine, Mr Pinera declared the rescue a miracle.

The operation has run smoothly so far. Health Minister Jaime Manalich said that if working conditions stayed the same, the rescue should be completed in one-and-a-half days, half a day quicker than predicted.
'Gracias Chile!'

The rescue operation began shortly after 2315 local time (0215 GMT) with a technical expert, Manuel Gonzalez, being lowered down the 624m (2,047ft) rescue shaft.

Mr Gonzalez was supposed to then return to the surface.

Rescued: Florencio Avalos, Mario Sepulveda, Juan Illanes, Carlos Mamani, Jimmy Sanchez, Osman Araya, Jose Ojeda, Claudio Yanez, Mario Gomez, Alex Vega, Jorge Galleguillos,

To follow: Edison Pena, Carlos Barrios, Victor Zamora, Victor Segovia, Daniel Herrera, Omar Reygadas, Esteban Rojas, Pablo Rojas, Dario Segovia, Yonni Barrios, Samuel Avalos, Carlos Bugueno, Jose Henriquez, Renan Avalos, Claudio Acuna, Franklin Lobos, Richard Villarroel, Juan Aguilar, Raul Bustos, Pedro Cortez, Ariel Ticona, Luis Urzua

However, a live video feed from the refuge where the miners were gathered showed Mr Avalos preparing to be winched up immediately.

A minute after the "Phoenix" capsule reached the top of the rescue shaft, Mr Avalos stepped out and was greeted by his family, rescuers and the president and the first lady, Cecilia Morel.

Bystanders cheered and clapped, and then started chanting "Chile".

Mr Avalos gave a thumbs-up before being taken in an ambulance to a medical triage centre and then given time with his family.

The second miner freed, Mario Sepulveda, reached the surface about an hour later.

BBC Mundo's Rodrigo Bustamante says Mr Sepulveda appeared in perfect physical and emotional condition. He ran towards a group of rescuers and led them in singing. He also brought a bag of souvenir rocks from the mine.

Shortly after, in a televised interview, Mr Sepulveda said his faith in God had sustained him and that he had had full confidence he would be rescued.

He was followed up by Juan Illanes and Carlos Mamani, who kissed his waiting wife Veronica and shouted: "Gracias, Chile!" Bolivian President Evo Morales is expected to arrive at the mine later on Wednesday to meet Mr Mamani.

From the media platform that has been carved into a mountainside overlooking the San Jose mine, I could see directly down into the area where Florencio Avalos emerged from the escape capsule. He looked astonishingly relaxed and walked without assistance. Waiting for him was his young son, who burst into tears as he embraced his father. Mr Avalos was then given a huge bear-hug by President Pinera and was greeted by senior members of the rescue team. He was wearing sunglasses to protect his eyes, which have not seen natural light for over two months. He was then taken by stretcher to a medical area.

The next man up was Mario Sepulveda, the showman of the group. He is the one who has acted as compere in the videos the miners have sent to the surface. It will be many hours more before all the miners are brought up. But with some successfully above ground, the relief at Camp Hope is tangible. The relatives have seen that the capsule works. They know they should be reunited with their loved ones soon.

Jimmy Sanchez, the youngest miner at 19, came next. He had only been working at the mine for five months and had been showing signs of anxiety.

The sixth miner freed was Osman Araya, 30, to a hugely emotional reunion with his wife.

Seventh miner Jose Ojeda was the man whose scribbled note "All 33 of us are safe in the shelter" 17 days after the accident had informed the world the miners were still alive.

The eighth, Claudio Yanez, was met by his partner of 11 years, Cristina Nunez. They had agreed to marry during the ordeal.

Then came the oldest miner, 63-year-old Mario Gomez. It was Mr Gomez who sent up a letter shortly after the miners were found to be alive, expressing love for his family and saying that the mining company "has got to modernise". Mr Gomez kissed his wife, Liliana Ramirez, then kneeled to pray.

Alex Vega, 31, was met by his wife Jessica Salgado, who said earlier she had eased his fears over debts by telling him she had cleared them.

In his address, President Pinera thanked the technical experts who had made the rescue possible and said this was a night of emotion.

Recalling the devastating earthquake that struck Chile in February, he said the miners had shown that "when Chile is united, we are capable of doing great things".

"This country shows its true soul, shows what it is capable of, when we face adversity."

But the president added: "This won't be over until all 33 are out."

So they're getting those dudes out! I, for one, am insanely stoked about this. I can't imagine how hard the ordeal has been for all parties involved. I remember when first reports were coming in, they were saying it would be Christmas before they got out. Granted, it's still been a long time coming, but god damn I'm just happy they're getting people out.

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