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Chile celebrates as miners make greatest escape


19-year-old Jimmy Sanchez is assisted in leaving the capsule as the fifth miner safely rescued from the mine. Photo: Reuters

19-year-old Jimmy Sanchez is assisted in leaving the capsule as the fifth miner safely rescued from the mine. Photo: Reuters

19-year-old Jimmy Sanchez is assisted in leaving the capsule as the fifth miner safely rescued from the mine. Photo: Reuters

Truck driver Daniel Herrera, 27, has become the 16th man to be rescued from the San José mine. Eighteen miners remain below as the dramatic rescue bid continues.

Victor Segovia, 48, was the 15th man to be rescued from the mine.

Victor Zamora, 33, a mechanic who only entered the mine on the day of the collapse to fix a vehicle, was the 14th man to be rescued.

On reaching the surface Zamora was greeted by his tearful wife who he threw his arms around in a long and deeply emotional embrace.

Carlos Barrios, 27, a part-time miner who also drives a taxi, was the 13th man to be rescued.

The horse racing fan is reported to have complained to his family about interference from psychologists while in the mine.

Edison Pena, 34, who ran 10km underground every day to "keep himself sane," was the 12th man hoisted to safety.

Pena hugged and shook hands with his rescuers after reaching the surface.

Jorge Galleguillos, 56, who broke a rib last year and suffers from hypertension, was the 11th miner to be rescued.

Galleguillos emerged from the rescue capsule with a beard after more than two months spent underground.

Alex Vega, 31, the 10th miner to be freed, was greeted by his wife on his arrival to the surface.

Vega gave two thumbs up to those gathered at the Camp Hope then hugged his wife for a long time. The miner wore a tee-shirt emblazoned with “Gracias Senor” or “Thank you God”.

Mario Gomez, 63, the oldest of the group, was the ninth miner to be rescued. Gomez hugged his wife then dropped to his knees to offer thanks for his survival.

Bizarrely, the miner, who lost three fingers on one hand, previously survived 11 days trapped in a shipping container after stowing away on a ship, and stayed alive by drinking water from a shoe and nibbling a piece of chocolate.

Claudio Yanez, 34, who has two daughters, was the eighth miner to be rescued. His fiancee Cristina Nunez met him on the surface.

He asked her to marry him earlier this year, she declined but changed her mind after he became trapped and wrote to him to say they should wed after the "miracle" of his survival. He said the wedding was the first thing on his mind.

Jose Ojeda, 46, was seventh to be rescued. A drill operator, who is diabetic, his family claim he wrote the note which first alerted the rescuers that all the men were alive.

Osman Araya, 30, became the sixth miner to be rescued. Osman greeted his relieved wife Angelica with a long hug and two kisses.

Jimmy Sanchez, 19, the youngest of the group, was the fifth miner to be rescued. Reported to have a fear of confined spaces, he's been one of the worst psychologically affected by the situation, according to the miners.

Jimmy emerged from the capsule waving a flag over his head. Looking more than a little shaky he gave his father a hug before going to meet his girlfriend Helen Avalos and two-month-old daughter.

Carlos Mamani, 24, who had only worked in the mine for five days before the collapse, was the fourth to be taken to the surface.

In a blue safety helmet, sunglasses and a big smile, Carlos Mamani waved to the crowd and embraced his wife. "Thank you for all your help," he tells Chile's president, who tells him: "welcome back to life."

Juan Illanes, 52, a former corporal in the Chilean army, was the third miner to be freed.

Smiling and freshly-shaven, he joked with rescuers as he stepped out of the capsule to be reunited with his wife in another happy scene from the San Jose mine.

Mario Sepulveda, 40, the most famous miner from Los 33, was second to be rescued. He is known as "the presenter" for his role making video diaries of life underground and interviewing his fellow trapped miners.

Mario was greeted by his beaming wife as he stepped out of the capsule. Bursting with energy he hugged Mr Pinera three times before leading the crowd in a hearty chant of "Chi chi chi, le le le!".

Florencio Avalos, 31, was the first of Los 33 to be brought back to the surface. Eagerly waiting for him there was his wife and son.

As the world watched, Mr Avalos stepped out of the Phoenix 2 capsule to deafening screams and shouts of joy from the crowd at Camp Hope.

Shouts of "Chi chi chi, le le le!" echoed around the camp as hundreds of balloons were released into the sky. Wearing sunglasses with a big smile on his face the first freed miner of Los 33 hugged his son and wife and then the president.