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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Chilean Miner Historic Rescue Countdown: 24 Up; 9 More To Go

24 Rescued From Chilean Mine, 9 To Go

[Updated at 4:58 p.m. ET, 5:58 p.m. Chile time] Before the capsule carrying José Henriquez, the 24th rescued miner, emerges from the shaft, a crew member calls out, "Do you hear me?"

His muffled response, "Yes, I hear you," elicits claps and cheers.

He climbs out, fists pumping, as his wife rushes towards him and starts to sob as they embrace.

Chile's mines were virtually a second home for Henriquez, who has spent 33
years working in them. Before the explosion, Henriquez warned that something was wrong with the mine. During the period of captivity, he served as a religious leader of shorts for the trapped miners.

[Updated at 4:41 p.m. ET, 5:41 p.m. Chile time] Most of the miners are in good emotional and physical health, Chilean Minister of Health Jaime Manalich said, expressing surprise at how "well they are.”

He also spoke highly of the rescue capsule and the shaft, noting that the miners were coming out dry and with very little dust on them.

"Things are going fantastically well, better than expected," he said in a press conference. "The work at the shaft has been really impeccable."

[Updated 4:32 p.m. ET, 5:30 p.m. Chile time] Carlos Bugueño, 27, reaches the surface, making him the 23rd miner to be rescued. Bugueño helped oversee the packages coming into and leaving the mine during his captivity. He joined the mines with childhood friend Pedro Cortez, who is pected to be the 31st miner to reach the surface.

[Updated 4:30 p.m. ET, 5:30 p.m. Chile time] Miner Dario Segovia, the 20th miner to reach the surface, leaves the triage center and enters the family greeting area. He's traded in his outfit of dusty t-shirt, and green utility pants for what appears to be a teal jumpsuit. But he's still wearing the dark sunglasses to help his sight adjust to daylight as he hugs his relatives.

[Updated 4:20 p.m. ET, 5:20 p.m. Chile time] Miner 
Carlos Bugueño is loaded into rescue capsule and pulled toward the surface.

[Updated 4:05 p.m. ET, 5:05 p.m. Chile time] Samuel Ávalos reaches the surface dressed in the same outfit as his predecessors: dark sunglasses, blue hard hat, beige t-shirt that reads, "Gracias Señor," or "Thanks be to God," atop the star from the Chilean flag.

His wife greets him with a hug, and the two share a long kiss accompanied by some claps and whistles.

[Updated at 3:55 p.m. ET, 4:55 p.m. Chile time] Samuel Ávalos has left the mine in the rescue capsule, bound for Camp Hope.

[Updated at 3:34 p.m. ET, 4:34 p.m. Chile time] Yonni Barrios becomes the 21st miner to be brought to the surface.

Barrios, 50, assumed the role of chief paramedic for the group due to his previous nursing experience. As a child, Barrios was tasked with caring for his diabetic mother. Fellow miners are calling him "Dr. House" after the American TV show, which is popular in Chile. He has been in the mine since 1985 and is married with no children.

[Updated at 3:21 p.m. ET, 4:21 p.m. Chile time] Yonni Barrios, the 21st miner, begins his ascent to Camp Hope.

[Updated at 3:01 p.m. ET, 4:01 p.m. Chile time] Dario Segovia reaches the surface, making him the 20th rescued miner since efforts got underway Tuesday night.

Segovia, 48, is the second generation of his family to be trapped in a mine. His father, who spent a week trapped in a mine, began taking him down in the mines when Rojas was 8.

His wife snaps a picture of him while he is still strapped into the rescue capsule, a red, white and blue cyliner bearing the Chilean flag and its colors. After he exits, he touches the ground and the rescue crew cheers.

After Chilean Mining Minister Laurence Golborne and other officials greet him with hugs, he is loaded onto a stretcher, covered with a blanket and brought to the triage center for medical assessment.

In the waiting room, cameras capture the jubilant scene as Golborne greets the miners' relatives in a surreal moment that plays out instantly on the television screen behind them.

[Updated at 2:47 p.m. ET, 3:47 p.m. Chile time] Miner Dario Segovia begins his ascent to Camp Hope.

Meanwhile, rescued miner Edison Pena has found out that he has a special invitation to visit Elvis Presley's home in Memphis, Tennessee. Pena, a die-hard Elvis fan, led his fellow trapped miners in Elvis sing-alongs to pass time while waiting for their rescue.

[Updated at 2:30 p.m. ET, 3:30 p.m. Chile time] The rescue capsule is sent back down the mine, where 48-year-old Dario Segovia is expected to be the miner brought to the surface.

[Updated at 2:28 p.m. ET, 3:28 p.m. Chile time] The 19th miner, Pablo Rojas, reaches the surface, where he is greeted by his son, Michael Rojas, in a long embrace.

Rojas, 45, was trapped in the mine with his two cousins, Victor Segovia and Esteban Rojas, who have already reached the surface.

[Updated at 2:15 p.m. ET, 3:15 p.m. Chile time] Pablo Rojas begins his ascent to Camp Hope.

[Updated at 2:00 p.m. ET, 3:00 p.m. Chile time] President Obama praises the rescue workers and the Chilean government for their efforts so far, saying the story has "inspired the world."

Obama said the world watched the rescue of the first miner and his embrace of his family upon reaching the surface.

"The tears they shed after so much time apart expressed not only their own relief, not only their own joy, but the joy of people everywhere," he said.

The president also commended help from the United States and elsewhere in the rescue effort, citing the NASA team that he said designed the rescue vessel and other U.S. support.

[Updated at 1:57 p.m. ET, 2:57 p.m. Chile time] The rescue capsule has been sent back down to the mine. The next miner expected to be brought to the surface is 45-year-old Pablo Rojas, cousin of Estebean Rojas.

[Updated at 1:49 p.m. ET, 2:49 p.m. Chile time] Esteban Rojas has been lifted out of the Chilean mine where he has been trapped for more than two months.

"Esteban, how are you?" the rescuers shouted as he got close to the surface. You could hear him shout through the chamber showing he was okay: "Bien!"

His wife Jessica Yanez grasped onto a religious tapestry with Mary on it as she awaited to see her husband - the 18th man to be lifted from underground.

As soon as he exited the capsule Rojas too knelt down on the ground, clasped his hands in prayer and lifted his hands to the sky to praise God. His wife then wrapped the tapestry around him as they hugged and cried as workers rallied in a Chile chant.

Rojas, 44, was working with supplies sent down to the mine. During his time in the mine he asked his wife of 25 years to renew their vows - and they plan to do so shortly after his rescue at a traditional church this time.

[Updated at 1:27 p.m. ET, 2:27 p.m. Chile time] Esteban Rojas is being put into the rescue capsule and will soon begin his journey to the top of the mine and see his family at Camp Hope.

[Updated at 1:23 p.m. ET, 2:23 p.m. Chile time] Crews worked to rescue 33 trapped miners as if the miners were their children, a posting on the official Twitter page of Chilean President Sebastian Pinera said Wednesday.

"We looked for them like our children. We found them with God's help. We are rescuing them as Chileans," the posting said. "May their example inspire us."

The posting also thanked several heads of state, including the leaders of Brazil, Ecuador and the United Kingdom.

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Sources: CNN, MSNBC, Youtube, Google Maps

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