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Chilean president confirms trapped miners are alive after 17 days

08-23-2010 07:28 BJT Special Report:Chile Rescues Miners Trapped Underground |

SANTIAGO, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) -- Chilean President Sebastian Pinera said on Sunday that the 33 miners trapped since 17 days ago in a copper mine in the north of the country are still alive.


Chilean President Sebastian Pinera shows a note reading "we are fine in the shelter, the 33 of us" from the 33 miners trapped in a copper mine near Copiapo in north Chile, Aug. 22, 2010. Pinera said on Sunday that the 33 miners trapped since Aug. 5 in a copper mine are still alive.(Xinhua/AFP Photo)
Chilean President Sebastian Pinera shows a note reading "we are fine in
the shelter, the 33 of us" from the 33 miners trapped in a copper mine
near Copiapo in north Chile, Aug. 22, 2010. Pinera said on Sunday that
the 33 miners trapped since Aug. 5 in a copper mine are still alive.
(Xinhua/AFP Photo)

Pinera said that the rescue teams made contact with the miners through an exploration line and retrieved the signal of one of the miners.

Pinera read a note written by the miners in red letter which said "we are fine in the shelter, the 33 of us."

Pinera said that this message was sent through the exploration line, and that the miners are in a shelter located 700 meters deep inside the mine.

"I want to tell you that Chile is crying of joy and excitement, the first is to thank the miners, their relatives, who even at the most difficult moments kept their hope, to the human team working for their rescue," Pinera said.

On Sunday the rescue team sent a second exploration line, which reached 688 meters deep, some 20 meters far from the shelter where the miners are.

However, Pinera said that the rescue of the workers inside the mine will take "months" because it is a difficult work as the shelter is some 700 meters deep.

"This came from the deepest of the mine and it is the message of our miners, who told us they are alive and together, and they are waiting to see the sunlight again and hug their families," Pinera said.

Pinera added that as soon as they know they are alive, they will send them water and glucose to stabilize their condition and then food, so they can continue to stay inside the mine.

Meanwhile, Mining Minister Laurence Golborne said that the aid for the miners "will be sent in some six hours."

The miners have been trapped since Aug. 5 in a collapse at the San Jose gold and silver mine in northern Chile.

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