'Phoenix' capsule arrives to rescue trapped Chilean miners
Published 27/09/2010 | 05:00
The families of the 33 men trapped inside a Chilean mine have been trying out the capsule that will be used to raise them to the surface.
The first of three rescue capsules, named 'Phoenix', arrived at the mine yesterday.
"We have called it 'Phoenix' because I think it will bring about a rebirth of the miners, and a new life for them," said minister Laurence Golborne .
The miners have been trapped 2,257ft underground since August 5, when the roof of the mine collapsed. They were discovered alive and well 17 days later.
Rescuers have been drilling to reach them since August 31. Families gathered at Camp Hope, high in the Atacama desert, applauded and chanted "Viva Chile!" as the 6ft-high metal cage was unveiled.
"It is what we have all been waiting for," said Elizabeth Segovia, sister of one of the trapped miners.
The 66st capsule, painted in the colours of the Chilean flag, is 21in wide and contains tanks of air, a microphone for communications, and equipment to monitor the miners as they are raised to the surface.
Cristina Nunez, the wife of trapped miner Claudio Yanez, climbed into the cage and said: "I'm very happy. Claudio will fit inside perfectly because he's one of the skinnier ones. But all 33 will fit fine."
Engineers believe they will reach the men in early November. (© Daily Telegraph, London)