In Chile, the cages that will eventually lift the 33 miners back into a world they have not seen for two months have arrived on site, as rescue teams revealed they are only 110 metres away from the trapped men.
Their families are ecstatic at the news. Only on Tuesday they marked the end of the men’s eighth week underground.
The head of the rescue operation warned that the last stage would be the most difficult, as it means burrowing through a fault line. Talk of a rescue by Saturday, he said, is premature.
But nothing can dampen the relatives’ joy. They were initially told the men would not get out until the end of December.
The shaft may have to be shored up with steel pipes to withstand the pressure from the surrounding rock.
That means the men’s rescue could take longer, even after rescuers reach their refuge.