CNN Wire Staff
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://www.cnn.com/video/world/2010/08/23/vo.chile.miners.2.cnn.640×360.jpg caption="Authorities say it could take months to rescue trapped miners" width=300 height=169]
Tubes packed with flashlights, water and oxygen were being sent Monday morning to 33 Chilean miners trapped for nearly three weeks in an underground shelter, said national Mining Minister Laurence Golborne.
Officials learned Sunday that the miners had survived 18 days after a cave-in trapped them more than 2,300 feet underground.
It could take four months to rescue the workers, officials said. But the miners' health will take priority over rescue-and-removal efforts, Golborne said at a news conference at the disaster site in northern Chile.
Medical officials were sending water down to the miners and then will determine whether they are healthy enough to tolerate liquid nutrients, said Jorge Diaz, the doctor in charge of the medical aspects of the rescue.
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