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Chile miners' rescue - Seventh miner freed

Wednesday 13 Oct 2010 11:40 a.m.

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By Jenny Suo

3news.co.nz brings you live updates as 33 miners trapped for 69 days in a collapsed Chilean mine are rescued.

You can watch the Chile miners' rescue on our live stream here.

Click on the video tab above to watch a video of the first miner being rescued.

10:30pm - The capsule is on its way back down to pick up the eighth miner, Claudio Yañez.

10:20pm - The seventh miner, José Ojeda, has made it to the surface.

10:02pm - The seventh to be rescued is José Ojeda, who is currently getting inside the capsule.

9:35pm - The sixth man has made it to the surface.

9:05pm - Thirty-year-old, Osmán Araya will be the sixth miner to be rescued. He has been sending messages to his family during the past two months. One of the messages to his wife said: "I'm sending my greetings to Angelica. I love you so much, darling. Tell my mother, I love you guys so much. I'll never leave you, I will fight to the end to be with you."

8:57pm - After a few adjustments, the rescue capsule is on its way back down to pick up the sixth miner.

8:20pm - After delivering the fifth miner to the surface, the capsule is being prepared to go back down to pick up the next, Osmán Araya. Meanwhile, a helicopter has taken the first four rescued miners to hospital.

8:10pm - The fifth miner, Sánchez arrives at the surface. He has been greeted by his father and is now off to the stabilisation centre.

7:50pm - Nineteen-year-old, Sánchez.is on his way to the surface.

7:30pm - The capsule has gone down for the fifth miner, Jimmy Sánchez.

7:10pm - The fourth miner, Mamani Saliz, has made it to the surface. He is greeted by his wife Veronica.

6.45pm - Carlos Mamani Saliz is about to start his journey to the surface. Mamani Saliz had only been working at the mine for four days before being trapped.

6:30pm - The capsule has gone down with no rescuer.

6:20pm - The capsule is now being prepared to be sent down for the fourth miner, 24-year-old Carlos Mamani Soliz.

6:10pm - The third miner, Juan Illanes Palma, has successfully reached the surface.

5:48pm – Palma is on his way to the surface. There are 2 more capsules on standby in case the first breaks during one of its trips. More than 40 return trips need to be made in total.

5:41pm – The third rescuer has arrived underground and is embracing the miners. A man, believed to be Juan Illanes Palma, is being prepared for the ascent.

Watch a video of Mario Espinace as he is freed from the mine here. Quite a celebration.

5:12pm – Espinace explodes with joy and runs around the site cheering at rescuers before being put on a stretcher and taken for medical attention.

5:09pm – Espinace’s wife is nervously laughing as she waits for her husband. Moments later, he reaches the surface. He looks in good shape – there is a big smile on his face as he gets out of the capsule. He hugs his wife and brings rocks from the mine as a joke for his rescuers.He clebrates wildly with the crowd - pumping his fist and starting a chant.

5:00pm – Espinace’s wife is close by waiting for the capsule to reach the surface. Espinace is now half way up.

4:57pm – Mario Espinace is now being lifted towards the surface. It took 16 minutes for Avalos to reach the top – rescuers are predicting the same for Espinace.

4:46pm – A second man, believed to be Mario Espinace is preparing to get into the capsule. Roberto Rios and Manuel Gonzalez are preparing Espinace’s outfit for the ascent.

4:39pm – Rescuer Roberto Rios has reached the miners. He is being welcomed as Manuel Gonzalez is inspecting the capsule.

4:24pm – The second rescuer is being lowered underground.

4:20pm – The second rescuer is now preparing to be lowered to the miners. The descent is expected to take only 10 minutes this time.Roberto Rios is the second man going down to help the miners. Mario Espinace is the next miner to be freed.

4:13pm – Avalos is wearing sunglasses to help his eyes adjust to the light. He is now hugging and thanking his rescuers. He is taken away to be looked over by medics.

4:10pm - Fifteen minutes in and there is movement at the tunnel entrance. And Florencio Avalos is out, the capsule is lifted from the hole. His family are overcome with emotion. He gets a hug from his son and family as bystanders applaud. He looks remarkably calm. Avalos hugs the Chilean President.

4:00pm – Family members are preparing to meet Florencio Avalos on the surface.

3:59pm – It was expected to take about 15 minutes for the capsule to reach the surface, but it seems to be ascending faster then it was going down.

3:56pm - Silva is now being brought out of the mine. He is in contact with rescuers and there is cheering both underground and on the surface.

3:52pm - Florencio Silva is now inside the capsule and ready to be brought out of the mine. The miners seem to be calm and collected. All has gone smoothly so far. Rescuer Manuel Gonzalex is telling the miners they need to clear the area once the capsule begins to ascend.

3:50pm – Workers on the surface are hugging and celebrating. The first miner is expected to start his journey home any minute.

3:39pm – There is a camera underground and it appears the first miner to be rescued, Florencio Avalos, is putting on the water resistant outfit needed to ascend to the surface. The other miners are putting on their shirts and preparing for their rescue.

3:37pm - Manuel Gonzalez has reached the miners. He is now giving the miners instructions on their rescue. Family members are rejoicing and crying.

3:10pm - Manuel Gonzalez, the man who will go down to rescue the miners, is starting to descend the shaft. He first went into a mine when he was six-years-old and says he will stay down there until the last miner is rescued.

3:07pm – The Capsule has returned to the surface from its dry run.

3:05pm – 2 Helicopters are at the scene and a 3rd is on standby to fly the miners to the nearest hospital. The Helicopters will carry 4 miners and a doctor at a time, but if a miner needs urgent attention, they will go on their own.

2:52pm - Another test run is now underway. Sky News is reporting engineers plan to take the capsule 610 metres below ground.

2:48pm – There is a delay as the door gets jammed. Authorities are also considering how badly the cable will rub onto the rocky sides while hoisting the capsule up.

2:44pm - The first man up - Florencio Silva - is married, has a brother also in the mine, Renan, and suffers from the high blood pressure.

2:41pm – The miners will be hoisted up at about 1 metre second. The capsule is capable of travelling at up to 3 metres per second but rescuers fear it may not be safe to do so.

2:26pm - The miners will have an oxygen mask and a radio as they are pulled from the shaft. They will be wearing sun glasses as their eyes will not be used to the light. If there are any problems during the rescue, the capsule has an escape shaft which miners can be pulled back into the mine with.

2:15pm -The family of the first miner to be rescued Florencio Valos Silva was probably picked to go first due to his calm nature.

1:59pm – The first bus with relatives selected to greet rescued miners has arrived at rescue site.

1:56pm – The capsule was back above the surface briefly and is now going back down for another test. It will need to successfully make 40 return trips in total, to rescue all the miners and retrieve paramedics. Authorities look pleased with the progress.

1:44pm – Rescuers have had a song and dance to prepare themselves for the evacuation process, which is expected to start in about 15 minutes.

1.33pm - The capsule has been lowered into the hole as a test run. It will not go all the way down. There is applause from family members.

1.28pm - The capsule has now been titled to an 11 degree angle and part of it is lowered into the hole. This is a test run - there is still no one in the capsule.

1.15pm - It appears a phone cable has been lowered into the mine.

1.06pm - Rescuers will need to achieve a balance in pace when pulling the miners up. They are worried the miners may suffer in the small capsule if brought up too slowly. But cables could break while rubbing against rocks and loose ground may jam the capsule if pulled up too quickly.

12:58pm - Those people who have been following this story closely will be interested in the order that the miners will be freed.


1. Florencio Ávalos Silva

2. Mario Sepúlveda Espinace

3. Juan Illanes Palma

4. Carlos Mamani Soliz


5. Jimmy Sánchez Lagues

6. Osmán Araya Araya

7. José Ojeda Vidal

8. Claudio Yañez Lagos

9. Mario Gómez Heredia

10. Alex Vega Salazar

11. Jorge Galleguillos Orellana

12. Edison Peña Villarroel

13. Carlos Barrios Contreras

14. Víctor Zamora Bugueño

15. Víctor Segovia Rojas

16. Daniel Herrera Campos


17. Omar Reygadas Rojas

18. Esteban Rojas Carrizo

19. Pablo Rojas Villacorta

20. Darío Segovia Rojo

21. Yonni Barrios Rojas

22. Samuel Ávalos Acuña

23. Carlos Bugueño Alfaro

24. José Henríquez González

25. Renán Ávalos Silva

26. Claudio Acuña Cortés

27. Franklin Lobos Ramírez

28. Richard Villarroel Godoy

29. Juan Aguilar Gaete

30. Raúl Bustos Ibáñez

31. Pedro Cortez Contreras

32. Ariel Ticona Yáñez

33. Luis Urzúa Iribarren

12:54pm BREAKING – Family members are preparing to leave the holding area, TV crews have been asked to darken their lights.

12:52pm – The Mining Minister has described how rescuers will begin their task; Cables and equipment need to be attached to the capsule. Then it will be lowered with a rescue worker inside, then raised again, and only when everything is ready will the paramedic go down to prepare the men below.

12:40pm – The route from the site to the hospital has been closed to the public so the miners can be transported quickly. If all goes to plan one miner will be rescued an hour.

12:32pm – The Mining Minister says the first rescuer will be sent down in about an hour and a half.

12:20pm – A mining engineer is predicting it may take several days before the last miner is out.

12:14pm – The atmosphere has relaxed and family members are no longer crowding in front of screens after word that they will need to wait another 2 hours.

12:12pm – Entertainment including a clown is at the site to entertain children as families wait in sweltering heat.

12:04pm – Chile's Mining minister has said it will be another 2 hours before the rescue can begin. A group of family members are gathered around a screen to hear the news and have let out a huge groan.

12pm – Authorities are getting ready to begin the rescue. They will lower a paramedic down to meet the miners.

11:57am – Authorities have confirmed the order of the first four miners. They are Florencio Avalo, Mario Sepulveda, Carlos Mamani and Juan Illanes.

11:15am - The capsule has been inspected and has arrived at the top of the shaft.

11:10am - US President Barack Obama says America’s thoughts and prayers are with the miners.

10:45am - More than 2000 journalists are now in the area but the government photographer and Chile’s state television channel are the only media allowed to record the miners coming out.

10:00am - The rescue is expected to take 2 days. The miners will be flown to a nearby hospital once they have reached the surface.

9:40am - Chilean President Sebastain Pinera has spoken at the site. He has also told the mother of Florencio Avalos that he’ll be the first of the 33 men to be rescued .

The last miner out will be shift foreman Luiz Urzua

9:30am - The rescue operation was expected to begin at around midday, but preparations have already started

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