Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

After 66 Days, the Wait Is Nearly over for Trapped Men

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

After 66 Days, the Wait Is Nearly over for Trapped Men

Article excerpt

CHILE'S trapped miners cheered and embraced at the weekend when a drill punched an escape shaft into an underground chamber in a spray of rock and dust on the 66th day of their agonising entombment.

The government's mining minister said that the extraction of the 33 men will probably begin on Wednesday, after an inspection revealed a new hole is mostly strong enough to allow their escape.

He said only a stretch at the top will be reinforced with steel pipe.

The completion of the rescue shaft caused bedlam in the tent city known as Camp Hope, where the miners' relatives have held vigil since a cave-in sealed off the gold and copper mine August 5. Miners videotaping the drill breaking through a chamber's ceiling 2,041 feet underground could be seen cheering joyfully and hugging each other.

At the surface, the rescuers chanted, danced and sprayed champagne so excitedly that some of their hard hats tumbled off.

"On the video, they all started shouting and hugging and celebrating," said James Stefanic, operations manager for the US-Chilean drilling company Geotec. …

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