Miners may be free in just two weeks
The 33 miners trapped underground in Chile could be rescued in as little as two weeks after rescuers reported that a drill being used to bore through the solid rock above them was advancing twice as quickly as expected.
The drill reached a depth of 984ft (300 metres) -- nearly halfway to its goal -- after advancing 243ft (74 metres) in a single day.
The Chilean government has said the miners are likely to be brought out in early November.
But rescuers at the scene told the miners' families yesterday that they could be free nearly a month ahead of the official schedule. They said preparations for the rescue effort on the surface would be ready by October 12.
Families keeping watch at the San Jose mine in the Atacama desert shouted "Viva Chile" as they were told the news.
At its current pace, barring complications, the US-made T-130 drill could break through in about five more days, and the shaft could be reinforced with a metal sleeve even before October 12.
The men have been trapped 2,257ft (688 metres) underground since August 5 when the roof of the mine collapsed. (© Daily Telegraph, London)