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October 14th, 2010
10:34 AM ET

Everyone out of the mine in Chile

CNN Wire Staff

Copiapo, Chile (CNN) - The painstaking process of hoisting 33 miners trapped nearly a half-mile below ground for more than two months in northern Chile was completed Wednesday night, less than a day after it began, ending a saga that gripped a nation that never gave up hope.

"I hope this will never happen again," said the last man out of the gold and copper mine, shift foreman Luis Urzua, upon reaching the surface, as he was embraced by Chilean President Sebastian Pinera. "I'm proud of being Chilean."

Rescue worker Manuel Gonzalez, the last person still in the mine, was hoisted to the surface around 11:30 p.m. ET.

It was Urzua, 54, who first established contact with the outside world on August 22, 17 days after the mine collapsed on August 5, trapping him and his men.

It was Urzua who divided the cans of tuna that helped keep the men alive until they were discovered, and it was he who organized the 32 others into three work shifts.

It was he who pored over diagrams that helped rescuers plan the men's escape, and it was he who insisted on being the last of the trapped men to be freed.

Full story


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soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Terry Henkel

    I was so impressed with the way Chilean President Pinera handled the entire rescue episode. I can only imagine the pathetic job that Obama and his administration would have done under similar circumstances after the way they bumbled the Gulf oil splll. I would love to have an effective president like the Chilean's have.

    October 14, 2010 at 1:51 pm |
  2. Catherine Martinez-Wells

    Thank you for your extensive and detailed coverage of the mine rescue. It's refreshing to see the world united, watching, hoping and praying over good news rather than a tragedy. I grew up in Southern Peru in a mining community also in the Atacma desert. I've been captivated by the story and have remained hopeful for their safe rescue for months. Again, I was so pleased to see your extensive live coverage of it last night. "Last Man Out" was by far the most amazing statement I heard last night.

    October 14, 2010 at 11:44 am |
  3. Glynis

    Mission 'almost' Impossible – a miracle beyond words that every single miner survived and came out alive, and most in relatively good health and spirits. the relief and emotion for everyone directly concerned and for all those of us around the world who were watching is truly indescribable. I pray that they will have all the peace and privacy they now merit, need and wish for to recover with their families from their unimaginable ordeal, with any outside support they require and with time to reflect on their futures without being influenced or manipulated, or hassled by the media and the outside world. The successful rescue efforts and devotion of the rescuers and all that supported them was also truly amazing. In the light of all this it is hard to make words not sound trivial.

    October 14, 2010 at 10:59 am |