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First Miner Reaches Surface

Florencio Avalos escapes after 69 days in mine
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 12, 2010 10:30 PM CDT
Updated Oct 13, 2010 12:30 AM CDT

(Newser) – The first of the Chilean miners who have been trapped underground for a record 69 days has reached the surface safely. Florencio Avalos grinned as he stepped out of the rescue capsule as his wife, father, and two sons looked on. He hugged rescuers and Chile's president before being taken to a medical triage center for tests, the AP reports.

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Avalos, the miners' second-in-command, was chosen to be first out because rescuers believed he would be best able to deal with any problems that might arise with the rescue capsule dubbed the "Phoenix." Another 32 miners, including Avalos' brother, will follow him on the 15-minute journey to the surface through an escape shaft. The final one, shift leader Luis Urzua, is expected to make it to the surface after one or two days.
(Read more Chile stories.)

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