Chile rescues last of the trapped miners

Section:

By Michael Warren
Associated Press
via Yahoo News
Wednesday, October 13, 2010

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/lt_chile_mine_collapse

SAN JOSE MINE, Chile -- The last of the Chilean miners, the foreman who held them together when they were feared lost, was raised from the depths of the earth Wednesday night -- a joyous ending to a 69-day ordeal that riveted the world. No one has ever been trapped so long and survived.

Luis Urzua ascended smoothly through 2,000 feet of rock, completing a 22 1/2-hour rescue operation that unfolded with remarkable speed and flawless execution. Before a crowd of about 2,000 people he became the 33rd miner to be rescued.

The rescue workers who talked the men through the final hours still had to be hoisted to the surface.

When Urzua stepped out of the capsule, he hugged Chilean President Sebastian Pinera and shook hands with him and said they had prevailed over difficult circumstances. With the last miner by his side, the president led the crowd in singing the national anthem.

One by one throughout the day, the men had emerged to the cheers of exuberant Chileans and before the eyes of a transfixed globe. The operation picked up speed as the day went on, but each miner was greeted with the same boisterous applause from rescuers.

"Welcome to life," Pinera told Victor Segvia, the 15th miner out. On a day of superlatives, it seemed no overstatement.

They rejoined a world intensely curious about their ordeal, and certain to offer fame and jobs. Previously unimaginable riches awaited men who had risked their lives going into the unstable gold and copper mine for about $1,600 a month. ...



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