Chilean rescue workers on Saturday morning completed a rescue tunnel 640 meters deep into a collapsed mine where 33 miners have spent the past two months trapped underground.
The 33 miners, all of whom had spent the last 12 hours in anxious vigil gathered at the section of the tunnel where the drill bit entered, celebrated with glee. Ten minutes after the drill reached the men, they sent messages topside that no one had been injured and they celebrated their ever closer escape from freedom was near.
The slightly angled hole into the San Jose copper and gold mine will now be used to haul out the miners one by one in a specially designed rescue capsule. That operation is expected to begin with seven days, but first Chilean officials must inspect the camera and decide whether to line section with metal tubing.
This PBS report talks about some of the problems surrounding the rescue:
Latin American media calls the news “A miracle”:
Un milagro a punto de consumarse: la perforadora llega a los mineros. Pasos que seguirán ahora.
The Wall Street Journal makes a rather idiotic remark:
If Saturday’s close video examination persuades engineers that the shaft is smooth, strong and uniform enough to let the capsule pass without significant obstacles, then rescuers plan to start pulling the men out one by one as early as Tuesday, in a made-for-TV spectacle that has captivated the world.
It’s not a made-for-TV spectacle: It’s real life.
Let’s hold the miners in our prayers.