On Saturday, Chilean rescuers completed a shaft that will be used to rescue the 33 miners who have been trapped for over two months inside the collapsed mine.
Engineers used special care when drilling through the last 4 yards of rock to avoid tunnel collapse then the horn blast rang out. Unleashing a wave of euphoria from rescuers and family alike.
“This is overwhelming—I can only imagine what my brother must be feeling down there,” Gaston Henriquez, the brother of one of the miners, told AFP as he choked on tears.
“We are very happy, because for the past two months we have suffered enormously. We’ll now wait for them to emerge so we can hug them and bring them home,” said Wilson Avalos, who has two brothers in the mine.
Several residents of Camp Hope ran to the top of the hill next to the mine and planted 32 Chilean flags and a Bolivian flag representing the nationalities of the trapped miners.
As efforts turn to the rescue capsule –named the Phoenix, engineers think the miners may have to set off dynamite to widen the hole at their end.
“There’s only about two inches clearance around it,” John E. Urosek, chief of mine emergency operations for the United States Mine Safety and Health Administration had said earlier. “And they’ll have to pull it out of that depth so many times, it could get wedged.”
Engineers are preparing to send a camera down the hole to evaluate and begin the process of prepping for the capsule