October 17th, 2010
09:24 PM ET

Freed Chilean miners return to 'Camp Hope' for Mass

About a dozen or so of the 33 miners freed in Chile this week after spending more than two months underground returned Sunday to the mouth of the mine to offer thanks during a private Mass.

For many of the miners, it was the first time back since their dramatic Wednesday rescue that was watched by the world.

Just the miners, their families and a handful of local officials were invited to attend the service.

FULL STORY

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Filed under: Chile • Chile miners trapped • Mine accidents • Religion
October 15th, 2010
12:06 PM ET

At least 10 freed Chilean miners will go home today

At least 10 rescued Chilean miners will be released Friday from the Copiapo Regional Hospital, officials said.

More men might be released, depending on how final checkups go, but none will require extensive medical treatment, they said.

Three of the miners arrived late Thursday to joyous homecomings following their release from the hospital, CNN Chile reported. Officials hope that all 33 will be home by Sunday.

CNN's sister network, CNN Chile, identified them as Juan Illanes, Edison Pena and Carlos Mamani. It aired video of several men and what appeared to be their families inside a red van departing the hospital grounds.

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Filed under: Chile
October 14th, 2010
10:04 PM ET

Several miners released from Chilean hospital

Several of the 33 miners who were rescued this week from the San Jose mine in Chile were released from Chile's Copiapo Regional Hospital on Thursday night.

CNN Chile showed footage of at least two miners being taken away from the hospital in cars. The hospital did not release any information about how many miners and which ones left the hospital Thursday night.

The miners were trapped about 2,300 feet below the surface for more than two months after a collapse of the mine on August 5. A small stash of food and liquid kept the 33 alive in a refuge for the 17 days that rescuers took to establish contact, after which more supplies were sent down. After a rescue shaft was drilled, a capsule lifted the miners to safety, one-by-one, on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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Filed under: Chile • Chile miners trapped
October 14th, 2010
11:43 AM ET

What's next for Chile miners, Fenix, 'Super Mario' and mine?

The last rescued miner, Luis Urzua, and President Sebastian Pinera sing Chile's anthem.

The whole world watched as rescue workers pulled 33 men out of a mine near Copiapo, Chile, after they had been trapped underground for more than two months.

While all 33 men are safe above ground, the story out of Chile is far from over. From the likely legal battle stemming from the initial mine collapse to those who have emerged as key figures, plenty lies ahead.

So, you're asking, what's to become of the miners, "Super Mario," the Fenix 2 capsule and the mine itself?

Rescued miners

Life is about to change tremendously for the 33 men who spent 69 days trapped. They've gone from unknown miners to national heroes. They were lucky to walk out of the mine unharmed, but some are dealing with lingering medical issues. Many experts have said the miners will face psychological struggles similar to post-traumatic stress disorder issues that troops face after war.

The miners and their families also will deal with the glaring spotlight and myriad offers for book and movie deals. The men have reportedly made a pact to write a book jointly and share in the profits. They also likely will find themselves receiving more gifts.

So far, they've reportedly been given or will soon get: wraparound Oakley sunglasses (the ones they wore during the rescue), a trip to Greece, $10,000 each from a businessman, new iPods directly from Apple chief Steve Jobs and trips to see Manchester United and Real Madrid soccer games. Edison Pena, a die-hard Elvis Presley fan who led his fellow miners in Elvis singalongs to pass time while awaiting their rescue, has been given an all-expense paid trip to Graceland.

Then, there's the issue of the collapse. The miners are expected to speak to attorneys about a lawsuit against their employer. As to whether they will work in a mine again, some have said they are miners and that's what they'll continue to do. Some of the men's wives have different designs and are vowing to never allow them inside a mine again.

San Jose mine

There are conflicting reports on what may become of the gold and copper mine that imprisoned the 33 miners.

FULL POST

October 14th, 2010
11:20 AM ET

Hospital may release most of Chilean miners today

COPIAPO, Chile (CNN) -  Most of the 33 recently rescued miners in Chile may be released from the hospital Thursday afternoon, a hospital official said.

Dr. Jorge Montes, assistant director of the Copiapo Hospital, said the miners generally are doing quite well. Some of the men suffered skin conditions, which was expected, given the high temperature and humidity in which they lived for the last two months.

Three miners had dental surgeries on Wednesday and are doing well, the doctor said, and another miner with an ulcer to the retina in one of  his eyes was successfully treated but the lesion may take some time to heal.
"All of them were subjected to high levels of stress.  The majority has endured it in a noteworthy manner.  Some are suffering from minor complications, but nothing to worry about," Montes said.  "They are happy after having spent a good night."

FULL STORY

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Filed under: Chile • Chile miners trapped • World
October 14th, 2010
06:51 AM ET

Last miner out hailed as shift boss who kept group alive

After the Chilean mine collapsed on August 5, shift boss Luis Urzua divided the lone cans of tuna in the dark cave among the men to keep them alive.

Without food, light or contact with the outside world for days, the shift boss organized the 32 others into three work shifts. He kept them busy, and he helped keep them alive. He led the group that was forced into living in continual darkness - and kept their spirits and solidarity in tact as they faced living in a cramped area with high humidity and hot temperatures.

And it was Urzua, 54, who first established contact with the outside world on August 22, 17 days after the mine collapsed, trapping him and his men. On that day, before even asking for help or about a rescue, he wanted to know the fate of the other men who had left the mine right before its collapse. He was thrilled and cheered on the phone that day.

But two days later he shared the anxieties of the state of the trapped miners.

"Under a sea of rock, we are waiting for the whole of Chile to pull hard so that we can be taken out of this hell," he told Chilean President Sebastian Pinera during their first phone call on August 24.

Inside the underground cavern,  Urzua, who has worked in mining 31 years, pored over diagrams of the mine, working with rescuers to construct a plan for the escape.

And so it was fitting that he would be the one - who offered - to be the last man out. Only after all the other men were each lifted to safety one by one would Urzua leave the mine.

FULL POST

October 14th, 2010
03:13 AM ET

'Mission accomplished': All 33 miners rescued

Editor's note: Click here for full coverage of the rescue at the Chilean mine where 33 miners were trapped following an August 5 collapse.

[Updated at 3:13 a.m. ET, 4:13 a.m. Chile time] Taiwan announces plans to invite rescued Chile miners for visit.

[Updated at 1:10 a.m. ET, 2:10 a.m. Chile time] Chilean President Sebastian Pinera plans to visit the miners at Copiapo Regional Hospital Thursday morning.

[Updated at 12:35 a.m. ET, 1:35 a.m. Chile time] Here is video of the speech that Chilean President Sebastian Pinera made not long after the final miner was brought to the surface earlier tonight:

[Updated at 12:22 a.m. Thursday ET, 1:22 a.m. Chile time] Check out this gallery, which contains video of all of the 33 miner rescues.

[Updated at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday ET, 12:59 a.m. Thursday Chile time] Earlier today, before rescue worker Manuel Gonzalez talked to Chilean President Sebastian Pinera about mine safety shortly after Gonzalez was the last person to leave the mine, Pinera criticized the mining operation.

Pinera said the mine, which collapsed August 5, "never should have functioned as it was functioning; it had a long history of violations." He added, "I want to announce to the Chilean workers and the employers that we are going to make a new pact in which the life, dignity and protection of workers will be the focus of government concern."

Representatives of the mine owner, the San Esteban Mining Co., have said previously they will collaborate fully with Chilean authorities and the Chilean Congress in their inquiries about what went wrong at the mine.

[Updated at 11:39 p.m. Wednesday ET, 12:39 a.m. Thursday Chile time] After Chilean President Sebastian Pinera greeted and congratulated rescue worker Manuel Gonzalez - the last person to be lifted from the mine - the rescuer told the president something very similar to what the final rescued miner, Luis Urzua, told Pinera earlier tonight.

"Mr. President, I hope this never happens again. I hope Chilean mining will be different; I hope things will be done correctly in [mining]," Gonzalez said, according to a translation from Spanish to English.

Pinera responded that he expects to someday announce new regulations to help protect Chile's workers, not only in mining, but also in other industries.

[Updated at 11:33 p.m. Wednesday ET, 12:33 a.m. Thursday Chile time] And now the rescue operation is done. The capsule has carried rescue worker Manuel Gonzalez – the last person to be lifted from the miners’ refuge – to the surface. He is cheered enthusiastically by fellow rescue workers.

Gonzalez returns about 25 hours after he went into the refuge to help the 33 miners get back to the surface.

[Updated at 11:25 p.m. Wednesday ET, 12:25 a.m. Thursday Chile time] As we wait for the last rescuer to reach the surface, check out this video compiling many of the arrivals of the 33 freed miners over the last 24 hours:

FULL POST

October 13th, 2010
08:19 PM ET

Last miner scheduled to emerge is group's captain

Luis Urzua entered the San Jose mine last August as a shift supervisor, intending to command his miners for about 12 hours. Sixty-nine days after a collapse trapped him and 32 others, he’s left as the man whose direction helped keep the group alive.

Urzua, 54, was the last of the 33 miners to be taken out of the mine in a rescue capsule, about a day after the first was rescued. He volunteered to stay in the miners' refuge 2,300 below the surface until all his men were safe.

As shift foreman, Urzua assumed command and control of the underground world that he and 32 fellow miners lived in since the collapse. His instructions to his men in the hours after the collapse - among them, to ration the little food and liquid that they had in a small refuge - are credited with keeping the group alive during the 17 days it took for rescuers to locate them with a probe and start sending them supplies.

He also kept the miners on 12-hour shifts and mapped out the area that was still accessible, dividing the space into work, sleep and sanitary areas, the Guardian newspaper reported.

"[He] is a leader in his field and has been for ages," Dr. Andreas llarena of the Chilean navy told the Guardian in September. "For a miner, their shift leader is sacred and holy. They would never think about replacing him. That is carved in stone - it is one of the commandments in the life of a miner."

Urzua told the Guardian for a story a few days ago that each miner played a part to keep the group functioning while it awaited rescue.

"We had to be strong, all the workers in the mine fulfilled their roles, as journalists, as spokesmen, and we worked hard for our own rescue," Urzua said.

His voice was the first that rescuers heard after verbal contact was made with the trapped miners in August. “We are well and hoping that you will rescue us," he said.

On Wednesday night with the entire world watching, his wish came true.

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Filed under: Chile • Chile miners trapped
October 13th, 2010
01:15 PM ET

Midway through Chile rescue: 17 miners reach freedom

Editor's note: CNN.com is streaming live from beginning to end the rescue attempts at a Chilean mine where 33 men have been trapped since August 5.  Also, watch live coverage on CNN TV. Click here for full coverage of the Chile mine disaster.

Follow our minute-by-minute updates on the second half of the Chile mine rescues here.

[Updated at 1:13 p.m. ET, 2:13 p.m. Chile time] The capsule has been sent back down the rescue chamber and Esteban Rojas is expected to be the next man lifted out of the mine.

Chile's mining minister Laurence Golborne briefs the press midway through the rescue efforts.

[Updated at 12:54 p.m. ET, 1:54 p.m. Chile time] Chile's mining minister Laurence Golborne said they have to do some maintenance on the door because of wear and tear from sending it up and down - but there are no major problems with the rescue capsule.

"It is difficult to open and close but it is still working," he said, adding that he expects the capsule to be sent down for the next miner shortly.

Golborne praised all of the work that had been done so far to rescue the seventeen miners - faster than anticipated.

"We are already half way through," he said. "We haven't had any single incident within this rescue process."

Golborne said that there are five rescue workers currently down in the mine - and one more will be sent down in the next few hours. They will decide who that will be soon, he said.

He added he hoped the entire rescue mission would be completed by the end of the day. The plan is for the rest of the miners to be brought up one-by-one, followed by the rescue workers. The sixth worker, who hasn't yet been sent down, will be the final one to be brought up, Golborne said.

"Up until now we feel really satisfied with the teamwork," Golborne said.

Still, Golborne said, "We won't be fully satisfied" everyone is rescued.

FULL POST

October 13th, 2010
01:00 PM ET

Wednesday's intriguing people

Condoleezza Rice

Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is making the rounds today, promoting her first memoir. “Extraordinary, Ordinary People” is the story of Rice’s upbringing in Birmingham, Alabama.

She has been sharing her thoughts about civil rights and politics, and USA Today captured on video another side of the former secretary.

Television: She watches a “little bit of news” and was a big fan of “V” when it ran on ABC. She also likes “American Idol,” though “Without Simon Cowell, I’m not sure it’s going to be so much fun,” she said. You won’t see her on “Dancing with the Stars” anytime soon. “That’s a real possibility for humiliation,” she said.

Music: The classical pianist is big on Brahms, Mozart and Beethoven, as well as Motown and R&B. Yet she has a special place for “hard, hard, hard rock like Led Zeppelin and Cream.” “Black Dog” is her favorite Led Zeppelin song.

FULL POST

October 13th, 2010
06:04 AM ET

Eight hours of rescue brings eight miners freedom

Editor's note: CNN.com is streaming live from beginning to end the rescue attempts at a Chilean mine where 33 men have been trapped since August 5.  Also, watch live coverage on CNN TV. Click here for full coverage of the Chile mine disaster.

Follow our minute-by-minute updates on the continuing Chile mine rescues here.

 

Claudio Yanez hugs his girlfriend, who proposed to him while he was trapped, after emerging from the rescue chamber.

 

[Updated at 6:02 a.m. ET, 7:02 a.m. Chile time] Claudio Yanez' girlfriend  kissed the mining minister as he arrived at the top of the rescue chamber, becoming the eighth miner to emerge after being underground for more than two months.

Wearing glasses to protect his eyes from the change in light, Yanez ran towards his loved ones and engaged in a long embrace with his wife. He then went to hug his two daughters, the youngest who was crying and rubbing her father's back. He held his daughters as he went and thanked each rescuer one at a time.

[Updated at 5:55 a.m. ET, 6:55 a.m. Chile time] Claudio Yanez, the eighth miner, has arrived at the top of the rescue chamber,
His family, including one of his daughters stood near by with bright smiles on their faces as they awaited his arrival.

 

Claudio Yáñez is put into the rescue chamber.

 

[Updated at 5:44 a.m. ET, 6:44 a.m. Chile time] Claudio Yáñez, 34,  known as "the smoker" by the group because he asked for cigarettes during his time trapped in the mine, is being loaded into the rescue capsule.

The mining minister had sent him a note back saying he would sent nicotine patches instead, but Yáñez insisted cigarettes please be sent down. During his time trapped underground, his longtime girlfriend proposed to him through a letter, and he also begged officials to send down photos of his two daughters.

[Updated at 5:31 a.m. ET, 6:31 a.m. Chile time] The capsule has gone down to bring up Claudio Yáñez, who will be the eighth man put into the rescue chamber.

 

Jose Ojeda proudly waves the Chilean flag as he steps out of the rescue capsule.

 

[Updated at 5:22 a.m. ET, 6:22 a.m. Chile time] Jose Ojeda walked out of the capsule with a broad smile on his face and proudly holding up and waving the Chilean flag. Chants and whistles erupted from the site as he exited.

He then went to his stepdaughter, kissing her on the cheek several times, as tears streamed down her face. As he walked over to thank and hug the miners, some of whom were wiping tears from their face, he kept his arm firmly around his stepdaughter.

Ojeda, known for his short powerful note to the world signaling the miners were okay, served as the secretary of the trapped miners.

FULL POST

October 12th, 2010
09:20 PM ET

On the scene: Chileans gather to watch rescue, history

Chileans are gathering in droves to watch rescue coverage.

In between cheers of celebration in the city plaza of Copiapo, Chile, on Tuesday night, you can hear a pin drop.

Thousands of Chileans have gathered in Copiapo, one of the closest city centers to the San Jose mine site, to witness a live feed of the rescue efforts of the 33 trapped miners.

An enormous projection screen was erected in the plaza. It switches between Chilean cable television outlets, all focused entirely on the mine rescue. Vendors sell Chilean flags and banners reading celebratory sentiments such as  "Fuerza Mineros," or "strength to the miners."

FULL POST

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Filed under: Chile • Chile miners trapped
October 12th, 2010
11:54 AM ET

After 68 days underground, miners' rescue to begin

Rescuers at the Chilean mine expect to begin the rescue of 33 trapped miners during "the last quarter" of Tuesday, Mining Minister Laurence Golborne said.

"We hope to finish the day with at least one miner on the surface," he said.

The concrete base built for the winch system at the San Jose Mine in Chile has hardened, paving the way for the rescue of the miners to start tonight, Mining Minister Laurence Golborne said. The winch that will pull the trapped miners out in Chile will extract them at .7 meters (2.3 feet) per second, Health Minister Jaime Malanich said. In case of emergency, the speed of ascension can be increased to 3 meters (9.8 feet) per second.

The attempted rescue, which the Chilean government said has been meticulously planned, is slated to begin late Tuesday and could last for hours or days. The 33 miners have been underground for 68 days.

CNN.com will have full coverage of the event and be carrying the Chilean mine rescue from beginning to end and on the iPhone.

With less than 24 hours before the operation begins, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera said he is looking forward to the imminent rescue of the miners who are nearly half a mile below ground.

See high-resolution photos from the site

Rescue workers and officials said they are hopeful - they've tested out the rescue capsule - and are making final preparations, including monitoring the miners' health and preparing special diets for them. Still, during the tumultuous ascent, officials will be concerned about the effect of barometric pressure on the men's bodies as they are brought up - and the "bends" and "chokes" that could occur.

Video: CNN's Rafael Romo takes a look at the rescue capsule that will be used

FULL POST

October 12th, 2010
11:32 AM ET

Officials hope to have one miner rescued by end of day

[Updated at 11:26 a.m.] Rescuers at the Chilean mine expect to begin the rescue of 33 trapped miners during "the last quarter" of Tuesday, Mining Minister Laurence Golborne said.

"We hope to finish the day with at least one miner on the surface," he said.

[Posted at 11:21 a.m.] The concrete base built for the winch system at the San Jose Mine in Chile has hardened, paving the way for the rescue of the miners to start tonight, Mining Minister Laurence Golborne said.

The winch that will pull the trapper miners out in Chile will extract them at .7 meters (2.3 feet) per second, Health Minister Jaime Malanich said. In case of emergency, the speed of ascension can be increased to 3 meters (9.8 feet) per second.

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Filed under: Chile
October 12th, 2010
11:01 AM ET

Mood in Camp Hope calm, heavy with anticipation

Colorful pinwheels top Chilean flags overlooking Camp Hope, where families are waiting.

"We are anxious but calm."

That's the word from the miners, according to Alejandro Pino, regional manager of the Chilean Safety Association, as an expected rescue attempt is set to get under way Tuesday night at the San José mine site in northern Chile.

At Camp Hope, where relatives and friends await the miners' rescue, the mood is much the same: anxious but calm. Construction and drilling noise provides a constant background as final preparations are made to the rescue platform, and the so-called Plan C operation continues the drill as a contingency.

There are small signs of hope and excitement - colorful pinwheels top Chilean flags marking the overlook above the camp.

Those family members who remain in public areas talk on cell phones and make the rounds, greeting each other with reassuring words.

Others have retreated to a separate part of the camp, where families can seek refuge from the extensive global media presence while they wait for the rescue attempts to begin.

In nearby Copiapó, screens are being set up to broadcast a live government feed of the rescue operation, with people expected to gather in the city center Tuesday evening.

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Filed under: Chile
October 12th, 2010
10:02 AM ET

On the Radar: Chile miners, Ft. Hood suspect, toxic sludge

Chile miner rescue - Chilean President Sebastian Pinera says he is looking forward to the imminent rescue of the 33 miners trapped for more than two months nearly half a mile below ground.

Officials say rescue crews will begin Wednesday - and perhaps even earlier - pulling the men to safety. "I hope that by tomorrow [Tuesday] or Wednesday, the miners will not only be able to see sunlight, but embrace their wives and girlfriends, parents, mothers and children," Pinera told CNN en Espanol on Monday.

Fort Hood shooting suspect –Tuesday marks the beginning of the military hearing for Maj. Nidal Hasan, the Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people and wounding 32 in a shooting spree at the Fort Hood Army base in Texas. The hearing will determine whether Hasan will be court-martialed.

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Filed under: Chile • Hungary • Military • On the Radar
October 11th, 2010
09:55 PM ET

Weather another potential obstacle for miners

Hot, dry days (including foggy mornings) and bitterly cold nights await the miners when they reach the surface.

After two months of darkness, the first of the 33 miners that breach the surface of the rescue shaft in northern Chile will be in for another shock: searing heat or numbing cold.

Located in the heart of the Atacama desert, the San José mine site experiences dry heat during the day under often cloudless skies, opposed by bitter cold at night - a typical daily dynamic in northern Chile's spring season. FULL POST

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Filed under: Chile • Chile miners trapped • Crime
October 11th, 2010
08:04 PM ET

Liberation for Chilean miners possibly just a day away

Final preparations are made Monday in the remote Chilean desert to rescue 33 miners.

The first of 33 Chilean miners who have inspired the world with their calm bravery and perseverance might be just be hours away from being plucked from the depths of the Earth.

"We are hoping to initiate the rescue beginning at zero hours on
Wednesday," or 11 p.m. ET Tuesday,  Laurence Golborne, Chile's mining minister, said. They've been trapped there since August 5. It wasn't learned until August 22 that the 33 were safely holed up in a small refuge deep in the mine.

The anticipated rescue will involve the delicate maneuvering of equipment with an emphasis on protecting the miners' health.

If all goes as planned, a rescue capsule called Phoenix 1 will be lowered about 2,040 feet (622 meters) down a 28-inch wide shaft at 11 p.m. ET.

FULL STORY ON RESCUE PLANS

One rescuer and one paramedic will be lowered down into the mine first to prepare the men for transport to the surface.

At 5 p.m. ET, about  six hours before the rescue starts, the miners will be switched to a diet of liquids, vitamins and minerals ahead of their trip to the surface.  Each trip is expected to take about 15 minutes.

MORE ON THE HEALTH PREPARATIONS

The change in diet is one way that officials are trying to mitigate some
of the challenges associated with the rescue. These include concern about the miners feeling lonely, dizzy or panicked while being lifted through the narrow shaft.

If all goes according to plan, the rescued miners will undergo about two hours of  health checks at a field hospital at the mine site. They will then be flown by helicopter to a hospital in the town of Copiapo.

CNN and CNN.com will carry live feeds from the rescue site when they begin.

PANORAMA OF MINE SITE


Filed under: Chile • Chile miners trapped
October 11th, 2010
11:23 AM ET

Days of waiting marked by brief moments of joy in Chile

 

Family members react to the news that the drilling effort has reached the trapped miners as flocks of journalists try to capture that reaction in Copiapo, Chile, on Saturday.

 

As the 33 trapped Chilean miners prepare for a long-awaited ride to the surface, family members are enduring their own emotional roller coaster.

Days of waiting are punctuated by brief celebrations of milestones in the rescue effort at the San José mine site in northern Chile.

Joyful moments tend to be short-lived, anxiety returning with the realization that it will still be days before their loved ones might be returned to the surface.

The latest milestone came early Monday, when the process of encasing the first 96 meters of the rescue shaft was completed at 4 a.m. ET.

FULL POST

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Filed under: Chile • Mine accidents
October 11th, 2010
10:46 AM ET

Rescue date in Chile could slip to Thursday

The target date to begin rescuing the 33 miners trapped in Chile is still Wednesday, but the start of the operation could slide into early Thursday, Chilean Mining Minister Laurence Golborne said Monday.

Tests of the hole through which rescuers hope to hoist 33 miners trapped nearly a mile below the surface of the Earth have proved "very promising, very positive," he said Monday. "Not even dust fell inside."

"We are extraordinarily content," Minister of Health Jaime Manalich said.

His prediction came shortly after workers cheering "Viva Chile" completed the installation of steel tubing to reinforce the path that rescuers plan to use to hoist the trapped miners to the surface.

About 96 meters of sheet metal has been put in place to line the tunnel that was bored 2,300-feet deep, according to Jeff Hart, operations manager for Layne Christensen Co., who has been in Chile advising workers on the drilling and casing operations.

FULL STORY

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