Rescuers in Chile say they have almost finished an escape tunnel for the 33 miners trapped underground for over two months.
It is hoped the new drill hole will pave the way for the men to be brought back to the surface within the next eight days.
The wife of Chilean president Sebastian Pinera will be waiting to greet them. At the mouth of the mine, Cecilia Morel Montes said on Friday:
“We don’t know the exact date. The president just says that, above all, their safety is paramount. We must get them out as fast as possible while thinking 100 percent about their safety.”
An army of reporters have joined the miners’ relatives at a makeshift camp above ground.
All but one of the 33 miners are Chilean. The other is a Bolivian immigrant. His wife spoke of her cautious optimism as the rescue effort reaches its final stages. She said she was “happy and a little bit nervous. I don’t know what I’ll do when the time comes. Hopefully I’ll just be able to give him a big hug.”
Video footage of the trapped miners appears to show them in good spirits despite their 64-day ordeal 700 meters underground.