Rescue teams in Chile have completed an escape shaft that it’s hoped will bring 33 miners back to the surface after two months trapped underground.
Once the sides of the newly-bored tunnel have been reinforced, they can be lifted to freedom one by one. That could happen within days.
Chile’s Mining Minister Laurence Golborne told reporters gathered at the mouth of the mine:
“It’s strange but it took us 33 days of drilling to get to the 33 miners. We’ve still got a long way to go, lots to do and more precautions we need to take.”
The miners have been trapped 700 metres underground since their copper and gold mine collapsed 65 days ago. For the first 17 days of their ordeal they had no communication with the world above.
Since locating them, rescuers have been supplying them with food and water, while the miners families have remained camped on site to offer their moral support.