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COPIAPO, Chile (Reuters) – All of Chile’s 33 trapped miners were rescued from deep underground in a special capsule yesterday as an extraordinary two-month survival story many call a miracle triggered wild celebrations.Luis Urzua,Ben Roethlisberger Steelers Jersey, 54, who was the shift leader at the time of the collapse, was the last of the miners to travel through 2,050 feet of rock to the surface in a capsule barely wider than a man’s shoulders.Celebrations erupted across the country as he emerged to a hero’s welcome above the San Jose gold and copper mine in Chile’s northern Atacama Desert, wearing his hard-hat and dark shades to protect his eyes after spending 69 days in a dimly lit tunnel.“Viva Chile!” the crowd chanted, as Urzua emerged from the capsule, the light on his miners’ hat still on.Rescuers held up a sign in Spanish reading: “Mission Accomplished.”Urzua beamed as an elated crowd chanted,Kevin Greene Steelers Jersey, sobbed and waved red, white and blue Chilean flags. The miners set a world record for survival trapped underground.“I hand the shift over to you and hope this never happens again,” he said with a Chilean flag draped around his shoulders, hugging an emotional President Sebastian Pinera. “I am proud to be Chilean.”Rescue workers opened the capsule door and hugged Urzua,Antonio Brown Steelers Jersey, who had insisted throughout that he would not leave the tunnel until all the other miners were safely evacuated.They are all now safe thanks to a meticulously planned rescue operation that went quicker and more smoothly than anyone dared to believe.The rescue workers who traveled down the shaft to help evacuate them were themselves be hoisted to the surface in the metal capsule, named Phoenix after the mythical bird that rose from the ashes.Church bells rang out in Chile when the first miner was extricated and Chileans were glued to their televisions,James Harrison Steelers Jersey, proud of their nation’s ability to save the men in a world-class rescue operation.“This was the toughest match of my life,Lawrence Timmons Steelers Jersey,” said Franklin Lobos, a former professional soccer player who turned to mining and driving a taxi to make ends meet, as he emerged from the mine.The miners were whisked away for medical checkups and found to be in good health, except for one who has pneumonia and is being treated with antibiotics.“This is a miracle from God,” said Alberto Avalos, the uncle of Florencio Avalos, a father of two who was the first to emerge shortly after midnight.Euphoric rescuers, relatives and friends broke into cheers – and tears – as the miners emerged to breathe fresh air for the first time since the mine caved in on August 5.They were all initially believed to be dead but rescue teams found the men 17 days after the collapse with a bore hole the width of a grapefruit. The tiny hole then became an umbilical cord used to pass hydration gels,Mike Mitchell Steelers Jersey, water and food to keep them alive during one of the world’s most ambitious rescue operations.Their story of survival captured global attention. Some 1,500 journalists were at the mine to report on the rescue operation, which was broadcast live around the world,Jared Cook Packers Jersey, including dramatic live images of the miners hugging rescuers who traveled down the shaft to their refuge deep in the mine.The flawless rescue was a big success for Pinera,LaDarius Gunter Packers Jersey, who waited at the mouth of the shaft through the night and day to greet and hug the men as they emerged from the red, white and blue capsule – the Chilean colours.Pinera, a billionaire entrepreneur who took office in March, ordered an overhaul of Chile’s mine safety regulations after the accident. His popularity ratings have surged and his government has won praise for its handling of the crisis.Thirty-two of the miners are Chilean but one is from neighbouring Bolivia and the rescue helped improve ties between the two countries, locked in a bitter dispute for more than a century over Bolivia’s demands for access to the Pacific.Bolivia’s President, Evo Morales, was at the mine to welcome Bolivian miner Carlos Mamani as he was lifted to safety and he thanked Pinera and his government for rescuing him.Chile will continue to shut old, decrepit mines after the miners’ saga, but the clampdown is unlikely to hit output in the world’s top copper producer, industry insiders say.The mining industry has played a central and often tragic role in Latin American history, starting with the hunger for gold and silver that drove the Spanish conquest and led to the enslavement of indigenous peoples.Here is a timeline of key events: Aug. 5 – Thirty-three men are trapped about 700 metres underground when part of the San Jose Mine in Chile collapses.Aug. 7 – A second collapse blocks access to lower parts of the mine, thwarting rescue plans.Aug. 22 – Rescue workers hear tapping on a drill at a depth of 688 metres. The world learns the miners are alive when they tie a note to a drill saying in capital letters: “All 33 of us are well inside the shelter.”Aug. 23 – Food, water and communication equipment reaches the miners.Aug. 30 – Ground is broken on the first of three holes being drilled to rescue the miners. Video of the miners is made public, showing them talking about loved ones.Sept.17 – Rescuers reach the cavern where the men are trapped with a bore hole, which will be widened to pull them to freedom later.Sept. 25 – A rescue capsule built to lift the men out of the mine arrives on site.Oct. 5 – Chilean President Sebastian Pinera says the miners should be freed by Oct. 15.Oct. 9 – A drilling rig “Plan B” breaks through into the chamber where the men are trapped. Rescuers decide the top 96 metres of the shaft need to be reinforced.Oct 11. – A test of the rescue capsule is sent down to the miners.Oct 12. – Rescuer Manuel Gonzalez is sent down the shaft and greets the miners below. Florencio Avalos, 31,Jack Butler Steelers Jersey, becomes the first of the 33 miners to be freed after 69 days trapped below the earth.Oct 13. – All 33 miners rescued.
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