Miners trapped in Chile still alive after 17 days
Thirty-three miners trapped underground in Chile for more than two weeks are still alive.
A note tied to a drill which had been used to bore through to the mine where they are trapped read that “The 33 of us in the shelter are well”.
The message was held up by Chile’s President Sebastian Pinera on Chilean television. Mr Pinera said it would “take months” to rescue the miners, but added: “It will take time, but it doesn’t matter how long it takes, but to have a happy ending.”
Some 17 days before the message was received, the miners had been working at a depth of around 700 metres (2,300ft) at the San Jose gold and copper mine, near the city of Copiapó when the rock above them collapsed.
Relatives, who had been camped out ever since, hugged and kissed as news of the message spread. Rescuers, who estimate it could take around 120 days to get the miners out, plan to send plastic tubes down the narrow borehole with food, hydration gels and microphones.
There are believed to be water deposits and ventilation shafts in the mine that could help the 33 survive. They are more than four miles inside the winding mine complex. The Chilean government had earlier said that the chances of finding the miners alive were low.