October 11th, 2010
02:15 PM ET

Wednesday is target for extraction of Chilean miners to begin

CNN Wire Staff

Copiapo, Chile (CNN) - Rescue crews in Chile will begin at midnight Tuesday - and perhaps even earlier - to free the 33 miners trapped for more than two months nearly half a mile below ground, Chile's mining minister said Monday.

"We are hoping to initiate the rescue beginning at zero hours on Wednesday," or 11 p.m. ET Tuesday, Laurence Golborne told reporters outside the mine. Though it may come even sooner, he said, "We're going to take all the time necessary to assure that the plans are adequate."

That decision was made after the rescue capsule, called Phoenix 1, was lowered overnight to 610 meters (about 2,000 feet), 12 meters short of where the men are trapped, he said. "It fit very well," he said. "Not even dust fell inside."

Asked why the capsule was not lowered all the way into the mine, Golborne said, "We could not risk that somebody might jump in."

The extraction cannot begin immediately because the concrete base built for the winch system must first harden, he said.

All of the miners appear to be in good physical and emotional shape.

"We are extraordinarily content," Minister of Health Jaime Manalich said.

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Filed under: 360° Radar
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Deborah McEwin

    These brave men are amazing...It was heart-warming to hear they requested shampoo and shoe polish. Hats off to them!!!

    October 12, 2010 at 12:29 am |
  2. Sylvana

    The whole world is waiting for the 33 miners to come out. It will be a great day to remember!

    October 11, 2010 at 10:09 pm |