Rescue Imminent for Trapped Miners

Chilean president says they could be out by Oct. 15
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 4, 2010 10:45 PM CDT
Drills work at the San Jose mine in Copiapo, Chile. Thirty-three miners have been trapped deep underground in the copper and gold mine since it collapsed on Aug. 5.    (Roberto Candia)
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(Newser) – The 33 miners who have been trapped in a collapsed mine since early August could be back above ground within days, Chilean authorities say. The rescue date has been moved dramatically forward from the original Christmas estimate and a huge drill is now within 48 hours of reaching the men's refuge, the Guardian reports. Chile's president says he believes the men will be free before he leaves for a European trip in mid-October.

When the drill reaches the men, metal tubing will be installed in the shaft and a rescue capsule nicknamed the Phoenix will lift the men to safety one by one. They will be shielded from sunlight and taken to hospital when they reach the surface. The miners have started sending up keepsakes from their 2 months in the shelter, including Chilean flags, letters from their families, and even rocks. "It's moving time," quipped the rescue operation's lead psychologist.

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