Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Joy as first Chile miners freed

The first miner to be rescued was Florencio Avalos

Three of the 33 miners trapped deep underground for more than two months in northern Chile have been rescued. The first, Florencio Avalos, reached the surface to cheers at 0010 local time (0310 GMT), after being winched up a 624m (2,047ft) shaft in a capsule. Mr Avalos was greeted on the surface by his family, and was hugged by President Sebastian Pinera. Next to emerge were Mario Sepulveda and Juan Illanes. In an address at the mine, Mr Pinera declared the rescue a miracle. Smiling broadly, he thanked the technical experts who had made it possible and said it was a night of emotion. Recalling the devastating earthquake that struck Chile in February, he said the miners had shown that "when Chile is united, we are capable of doing great things". "This country shows its true soul, shows what is capable of, when we face adversity." But the president added: "This won't be over until all 33 are out."


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