As the first miners began to emerge from their underground prison the mining town of Copiapó exploded with relief and joy.
The plight of the trapped miners has captured the imagination of the world and when the first man, Florencio Avalos, stepped out of “Fenix 2” it was time for the locals to release all the emotion that had built up over the last 69 days.
The whole country has united behind the trapped miners and in the capital Santiago flag waving Chileans took to the streets to celebrate their freedom.
This man expressed his pride at the success of the rescue:
“I saw it live, it’s an historic moment for Chile, and we are all involved in this , it truly is an historic moment, and thanks to God they’re all getting out, one by one, to be with their families, it is a miracle they’re with us again today… “
In the deeply Catholic country Chilean’s held vigils to pray for the safe return of the men.
The Arch-Bishop of Santiago Francisco Javier Errazuriz marvelled at the strength of the miners:
“We are all very touched, all of us that were at the mine at some point, and also all of those who followed all this at a distance. The miners are very strong their strength is on show right now, its marvellous.”