Just hours to go before the climax to one of the longest rescue operations in history that has gripped audiences around the world.
For the last 68 days 33 Chilean men have been trapped 700 metres underground in a hot and humid copper mine, never really knowing if they would ever see daylight or their families again.
Now an atmosphere of anticipation and emotion is growing at the pithead, where rescuers, wives, children, parents and lovers along with the world’s media await the operation’s endgame.
“At the end of the day their comradeship is also their need to hug their loved ones, to keep the group unity that the 33 have forged deep down in that mine,” said rescue operations chief Alejandro Pino.
The men have kept up their morale throughout, but it has been a desperate ordeal almost unique of its kind. Despite knowing quite quickly they were not alone and help was on its way, their time underground is sure to have left its mark.