Seventeen days after fearing the worst, the families of 33 trapped miners in Chile can hardly believe it but the men are still alive.
From deep underground a message tied to a drill used to bore through to where it was hoped some of the men might be, told rescuers not to give up.
Chile’s President Sebastián Piñera held up the precious scrap of paper to journalists. “It’s a message from our miners,” he said. “It tells us that they are alive, together, and that are waiting to see the light of day and hug their families. I want to say that today all of Chile is crying with happiness and emotion.”
Deposits of water and ventilation shafts have apparently helped sustain the men since part of the gold and copper mine caved in over two weeks ago.
Engineers said it will take months to dig a new tunnel – in the meantime oxygen, food and communication equipment are being sent down.