Latin America & Caribbean

Chile mine rescue

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  1. 0057: With the end of the operation comes the end of our live coverage. Remember, you can find comprehensive coverage of the whole story on the BBC News website, including more reaction as it comes in from our correspondents in Chile. Thanks for being with us.
  2. 0045: Mining Minister Laurence Golborne - who has been a constant presence throughout the crisis - has tweeted in celebration: "The last rescuer has gone up. Now we can say that team, with the company of the whole country, rescued our 33 miners in just 77 days. We did it!" Read Laurence Golborne's tweets
  3. 0043: In the end, a potential tragedy in a remote corner of the world has been utterly transformed into one of the greatest tales of good news ever told.
  4. 0041: Chile's TV feed from the mine fades away and displays a message telling the world that finally, finally, it is all over.
  5. 0038: Chilean President Sebastian Pinera ceremonially closes the San Jose mine.
  6. 0037: Chilean journalist Maria Paz Moya tweets: "Laurence Golborne has loosened up. He imitated the sound of a siren while waiting for rescue worker Manuel Gonzalez" Read Jaime Hernandez's tweets
  7. 0036: Pinera: "You have won the appreciation of all of Chile, and you have earned it."
  8. 0035: For the final time, President Pinera congratulates a man leaving the mine. "It has been a long, long day, but we are so proud."
  9. 0032: Rescue worker Manuel Gonzalez emerges from the shaft, the final man to leave the San Jose mine.
  10. 0029: The crowds are back at the top of the shaft. The cheer for this will be almost as big as for the miners.
  11. 0027: Those of you following this page when the rescue effort begun might remember Manuel Gonzalez. A mining expert. he stared straight ahead as he was strapped into the capsule, the first man to head down the shaft to try and free the miners. No-one then would have dared to guess how well everything was going to turn out.
  12. 0023: He's a popular man. Jaime Hernandez in Talca, Chile, tweets: "Manuel Gonzalez, you are not alone. The whole country is watching you." Read Jaime Hernandez's tweets
  13. 0020: "Grande Manuel!" is the cry from the controllers: "Big man Manuel!" He hoists himself into the Phoenix 2 and readies for the off.
  14. 0019: There's been no confirmation of the last man's identity, but it seems likely that it's Manuel Gonzalez, the man who was the first down the shaft yesterday.
  15. 0017: The last man in the mine is talking, making a kind of parting address. Silhouetted in the light, he says he has been away from his family for a week. "But it was worth it because we finally got this done."
  16. 0014: The final rescue worker is awaiting his lift out of the mine. He won't have any help getting in the capsule.
  17. 0011: Roberto Saa, a Chilean journalist for local TV station TVN, tweets: "All the drill technicians are leaving the camp and honking their horns. This is a happy ending." Read Roberto Saa's tweets
  18. 0010: There's been a mixed reaction from Chilean tweeters to President Sebastian Pinera's speech and to his presence in the camp: Franco Catrin in Quilpue says: "I hope that he keeps the promises he made today. He has a real opportunity to lead through change in the way companies are run". Paula Toledo in Talagante says: "Pinera left the rescuers by themselves. That's ugly." Daniela Campos in San Fernando says: "Pinera is great. Not many people have so much power of conviction and decision."
  19. 0004: Phoenix capsule heads to the bottom of the mine to pick up final rescue worker.
  20. 0004: Instead, cheers ring out as the fifth rescue worker emerges from the rescue shaft.
  21. 0003: The clock has ticked over in Chile, and another day is beginning. For the first time since early August, the country will not need to worry about the fate of its miners.
  22. 0002: The shift from hell comes to an end at last. The BBC's Vanessa Buschschluter, at Camp Hope throughout the rescue, talks to the families ready to start over again.
  23. 2356: One man left. "Will it be his job to turn the lights off?" wonders the BBC's Tim Willcox.
  24. 2355: Fifth rescuer lifts off from the bottom of the mine shaft - leaving just one more man at the bottom.
  25. 2342: Fourth rescue worker reaches the surface in the Phoenix capsule.
  26. 2338: More news from the mine shaft: crowds are awaiting the arrival of the fourth rescue worker.
  27. 2336: We have been getting many cheerful comments from around the world in response to the success of the operation. Pedro Buraglia in Bogota, Colombia, says: "Hurrah for the brave Chileans!!! This is a song for life." Donna Gonsalvez Barrero in St John's, Antigua, says: "The miners have been on my mind and subject of my prayers since the collapse. My birthday was October 12 and with the news of their possible rescue during the week of that date I was elated. I wanted nothing more than their successful rescue. Instead of going out, I spent all of last night smiling after the initial anxiety as I saw the rescue progress well." Ken I in Fukuoka, Japan, says: "I am watching from Japan through the internet. All of the miners you guys have a strong mind which I admire a lot. Please take good care of yourself and have some rest with your people." Have Your Say
  28. 2333: For 17 days the miners were cut off entirely, surviving only on dwindling rations. And then a vital link was established through a bore hole no wider than a grapefruit. Hope was restored, below ground and above.
  29. 2332: They were trapped by a huge rockfall on 5 August, 33 men cut off 700m below ground in the crumbling San Jose gold and copper mine in northern Chile.
  30. 2326: The miners spent 69 days below ground. History does not record anyone surviving as long as this trapped under the earth.
  31. 2324: As the operation winds down at the San Jose mine, it's worth recalling a few of the astonishing facts that have made this whole episode so unique.
  32. 2320: That third rescue worker is now at the surface.
  33. 2307: Closer and closer to the end of the entire operation. Another rescue worker lifts off in the Phoenix. It's hard to tell how many are left down there still, but there should be three more.
  34. 2253: More success: the second rescue worker makes it back to the surface. He gets hugged too - but it's a different kind of congratulation, a more formal one. A job well done.
  35. 2252: Yet more evidence that Copiapo is the place to be tonight: the town is in "full party mode" says the BBC's Matthew Rhodes, in the town. "The party is in full swing and will continue throughout the night."
  36. 2250: David Parker in Hong Kong says: "The first rescuer who went down the mine is one of the true heroes also and should not be forgotten. He was the first human to experience the 'Phoenix' and the shaft, and was risking his own life when he didn't need to. Of course, all the rescuers are heroes, but this is a particular example of bravery which should be recognised and not forgotten in the euphoria of the rescue of the 33." Have Your Say
  37. 2249: The BBC's Tim Willcox says the most memorable part of the rescue for him was the family reunions, especially the moment when the children of Florencio Avalos saw their father emerging.
  38. 2246: We can now give you Luis Urzua's exact words to the Chilean President Sebastian Pinera: "I hand the shift over to you and hope this never happens again. I am proud to be Chilean."
  39. 2245: It's a time of celebration for Chile, a moment of release, and a moment for the families of the miners to reflect on their good fortune that their loved ones have returned. They will be closely monitored over the coming days and weeks, watched for any signs of illness or depression. Their lives will undoubtedly be wildly different, although no-one can yet know quite how.
  40. 2237: A poignant moment at Camp Hope: family members go up the hill to collect the 33 flags raised there in honour of the trapped men, says BBC Mundo's Valeria Perasso.
  41. 2236: The celebrations have erupted but the action still isn't over at the mine: the first rescue worker is now out of the shaft. Thankfully, though, they are no longer the centre of attention.
  42. 2228: BBC Mundo's Valeria Perasso has tweeted: "The rescue lasted 22 hours and 42 minutes, when it was predicted to last 48" Read Valeria Perasso's tweets
  43. 2225: The BBC's Rajesh Mirchandani, in Copiapo, says: "Incredible eruption of joy in Copiapo. Cars are streaming around the main square with flags waving honking horns. Hundreds in the main square are jubilant, singing national anthem and "Chi Chi Chi Le Le Le", the popular chant."
  44. 2223: Tony Tissot in Morgan Hill, California, US, says: "Thank you - especially to the brave folks from the rescue team who are still underground. May they quickly and safely return to the surface!" Have Your Say
  45. 2222: President Pinera speaking now: "We did it the Chilean way, which means the right way."
  46. 2221: The BBC World Service correspondent Piers Scholfield tweets: "It's over! Relatives drench photographers in champagne in Camp Hope. Singing, crying, kissing? emotional." Read Piers Scholfield's tweets
  47. 2219: The five rescuers are still down the mine. They have unfurled a poster with the words "Mission accomplished: Chile" on it.
  48. 2217: Guy Adams, a correspondent for the UK's Independent newspaper, tweets from Copiapo: "Copiapo is a mining town, so a lot of extremely tough men are crying right now here in the square" Read Guy Adams' tweets
  49. 2216: Pinera to Urzua: "The country will be changed forever. Stay in touch. Now go see the doctors."
  50. 2214: "The greatest thing was that we had the guts to fight," Don Lucho tells President Pinera.
  51. 2214: This is a historic moment and everyone involved is celebrating, says Rodrigo Bustamante of BBC Mundo. The miners, the families, the rescuers, the authorities: Camp Hope is seeing a party which is being replicated in every corner of the country, which has seen the tragedy of 5 August transformed into an achievement of worldwide importance.
  52. 2206: We've heard the Chilean national anthem sung again and again during this rescue. It begins: "Pure, Chile, is your blue sky; Pure breezes cross you as well". Apt words indeed for Don Lucho and the other 32 men now breathing fresh air again.
  53. 2205: Mr Urzua smiles now and jokes with the psychologist. "A shift of 70 days... that's a long shift." And that's from a man who knows.
  54. 2202: Another embrace as the anthem ends. Smiles and a handshake for Laurence Golborne, the mining minister.
  55. 2201: Champagne has been spraying around the crowd at the shaft. "Viva Chile" is the cry - and a rousing rendition of the national anthem.
  56. 2158: The president and shift leader embrace. Mr Urzua tells of his pride. The president says each and every one of the miners was an example of courage.
  57. 2157: Chile's sense of national pride has swelled with every miner rescued, the BBC's Matt Frei says.
  58. 2156: Sirens, cheering and joy at Camp Hope as a 22-hour operation to rescue the 33 miners ends in triumph.
  59. 2152: The siren sounds. Don Lucho near.
  60. 2151: BBC Mundo's Valeria Perasso has tweeted: "Everyone at the camp, from the families to Rolly the Clown, is singing the national anthem" Read Valeria Perasso's tweets
  61. 2150: "For a miner, their shift leader is sacred and holy," rescue official Dr Andreas Llarena told the UK's Guardian newspaper. "They would never think about replacing him. That is carved in stone; it is one of the commandments in the life of a miner."
  62. 2149: A topographer by training, Mr Urzua drew up plans of the area where he and his comrades were trapped.
  63. 2147: In just nine minutes or so, this high drama will come to an end. Luis Urzua's arrival will almost certainly be watched by every Chilean who can get to a TV set.
  64. 2145: The time is now for Luis Urzua. He is ascending from the underworld of the mine after 69 days.
  65. 2145: Mr Urzua, 54, known respectfully as Don Lucho by the miners, kept them going for those awful first 17 days, when no one up above even knew they had survived.
  66. 2144: Luis Urzua has played a special role in this drama. He is credited with having kept the miners together back in August when there was no hope in sight back, and he chose to be the last miner out.
  67. 2143: And there he is, Luis Urzua, climbing into the Phoenix 2 capsule, the last of Los 33.
  68. 2141: There's a big screen relaying events from the mine to the crowds in Copiapo, the BBC's Rajesh Mirchandani reports from the town.
  69. 2139: It's an eerie scene down below now. Just one miner left to come up, the shift leader and master motivator Luis Urzua.
  70. 2135: People are packing out the main square in Copiapo, BBC Mundo's Valeria Perasso reports. Flags are everywhere and the town is at a standstill.
  71. 2134: We're close to the end now. Reports are coming of a growing atmosphere in the town of Copiapo.
  72. 2132: The story of Ariel Ticona's baby must have boosted morale for the miners, the BBC's Matt Frei says. It certainly boosted the spirits of the country.
  73. 2131: A round of applause for a broken phone brandished in the air - the phone the miners used to communicate with their rescuers 700m above.
  74. 2130: He climbs out of the Phoenix and embraces his wife. President Pinera clutches Mr Ticona close and tells him the news he has wanted to much: "Your daughter is waiting for you."
  75. 2128: Ariel Ticona arives at the surface, the 32nd freed miner.
  76. 2125: Mr Ticona asked his wife to name their baby girl Esperanza, the Spanish for "hope" and the real name of Cape Hope, the families' home at the mine head.
  77. 2123: Ariel Ticona's story is heartwarming. He could only see the birth of his daughter when a video was sent down on 14 September.
  78. 2119: There are just two miners left to come out. The first of those, Ariel Ticona, is now heading to the surface.
  79. 2116: A bit more detail from Tim Willcox's interview with Chilean President Sebastian Pinera. He said Chile's mining industry had to take responsibility for safety. "Big companies... are very good in terms of safety but small companies like this one; they didn't take care, good care of the workers. And this mine should have never been acting or working in the conditions they were because there were no safety conditions to protect the lives and the integrity of the workers." Read Tim Willcox's tweets
  80. 2111: Chilean all over the world are watching events in the Atacama. Nancy Chacon writes from Suva, Fiji: "From Fiji, we send a big 'Viva Chile' to the 33 miners and families. I am proud to be Chilean and happy to see the miracle. Thanks to God and to all the people who are helping to rescue them." Have Your Say
  81. 2106: The bond between the rescuers and the freed miners appears intense and genuine. These men have communicated with each other from opposite ends of the mine for weeks and weeks. The hugs and smiles when the miners emerge are heartfelt as those given to their loved ones.
  82. 2103: Pedro Cortez emerges smiling from Chilean mine, the 31st man freed.
  83. 2102: Pedro Cortez has had some tough times, the BBC's Tim Willcox said on BBC World News. He has separated from his wife and previously been injured working in mines.
  84. 2059: People on Mr Cortez's street have stockpiled "enormous quantities of beer, wine and pisco [grape liquor]" to welcome him back home with a party, newspaper reports have said.
  85. 2054: Mr Cortez is on his way up.
  86. 2052: Positive tweeting from Mining Minister Laurence Golborne: "Only three to go! But let's not forget about the six rescue workers. At this rate, we will finish the rescue operation today." Read Laurence Golborne's tweets
  87. 2051: Pedro Cortez, 24, is a childhood friend of Carlos Bugueno, who was brought out at 1732 on Wednesday.
  88. 2050: Once again the capsule arrives. Mr Cortez prepares to leave the place he has reluctantly called home for 69 days.
  89. 2047: Just three miners to go, plus of course the rescuers and medics. The next man due up is Pedro Cortez.
  90. 2041: One more thing about Mr Bustos. He had the job of organising water supplies for the trapped miners. Not any more.
  91. 2039: He's out, and he's fine. A tender kiss for his wife, and a few joking whistles from the rescuers. Then the back-slapping begins.
  92. 2037: Raul Bustos becomes 30th miner rescued from San Jose mine.
  93. 2036: Carola Narvaez smiles, and then looks nervous. And then...
  94. 2034: Some who are still around are the family of Raul Bustos. They're now ready at the top of the shaft, waiting for him to arrive.
  95. 2033: It looks like the focus of events is beginning to shift to Copiapo. There are more and more people gathering at the main square in nearby Copiapo BBC Mundo's Rodrigo Bustamente says. A massive street party is expected in the streets of Copiapo once the final miner, foreman Luis Urzua, is out.
  96. 2031: More evidence of changing times at Camp Hope. BBC World Service correspondent Piers Scholfield tweets: "Camp suddenly emptying out? Tents and gazebos going? Generators going quiet? Officials all smiles" Read Piers Scholfield's tweets
  97. 2030: Waiting for her husband in the tent city, Carola Narvaez was philosophical about this double brush with disaster: "In the earthquake we just had to keep on living. This is the same. It is producing much anguish, isolation, fear but we're alive. We will have another happy ending."
  98. 2029: Mr Bustos, 40, was taken on as a hydraulics engineer at the mine. His wife and two small children stayed behind in Talcahuano.
  99. 2026: Raul Bustos, the next miner due out, is "luckiest unlucky man on Earth", according to his wife Carola Narvaez. He lost his builder's business in the central port city of Talcahuano during Chile's monster earthquake and tsunami in February, and headed north to the San Jose mine for a new start...
  100. 2024: Just four miners to come out now, and the next man up has quite a story to tell.
  101. 2019: Rodrigo Bustamente of BBC Mundo says Camp Hope is much quieter than on previous nights as so many of the family members have now moved on. Only a few groups remain in their tents. The rest have returned to Copiapo to be near their loved ones at the regional hospital.
  102. 2017: Mr Aguilar is stretchered away, waving. And Laurence Golborne smiles again.
  103. 2015: Juan Aguilar is free, and embraces the president. All of a sudden night has fallen and these last few miners are being freed in the dark.
  104. 2013: Capsule carrying Juan Aguilar, 49, emerges from rescue shaft. Miner 29 is free.
  105. 2011: Back at the mine head, the president has returned to greet Juan Aguilar's family. For one brief moment though, Laurence Golborne is caught on camera not smiling. That won't last very long...
  106. 2009: Chilean tweeters found Richard Villaroel's exit very moving. Teresa Valenzuela in Valparaiso says: "I loved Villaroel's little sister, she made me cry, what an emotional reunion." Francisca says: "I cried with his rescue, his little sister and the way he hugged his mom". Others are commenting on the fact that the head of the rescue operation, Andre Sougarret, also shed some tears at the family encounter.
  107. 2005: Marcela Reygadas, daughter of Omar, the 17th man rescued, has said that seeing her father come out was a "beautiful experience". She has been keeping a diary of the long wait at the camp along with her siblings Ximena and Omar
  108. 2001: Next into the capsule is Juan Aguilar, 49, who worked as a mine supervisor. He is from the mining town of Los Lagos, 1,450km (900 miles) away.
  109. 1959: Just one moment of slight tension during the interview with President Pinera. Asked whether he was going to return the handwritten note with which the miners first made contact with the rescuers, Mr Pinera said he needed "to have a conversation" with the miner who wrote it.
  110. 1957: Mr Pinera admits to the BBC's Tim Willcox that the rescue operation cost "many millions", but says the cost is not important. "The government has to take the blame." Read Tim Willcox's tweets from the mine.
  111. 1952: The BBC's Tim Willcox has been talking exclusively to the Chilean President Sebastian Pinera. \r\rStill beaming, the president says he hopes that after this rescue, when people think of Chile they will no longer think of the coup d'etat and the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet.
  112. 1948: Tears and hugs. The emotions are no less powerful for every family, even though we've now seen more than two dozen miners emerge.
  113. 1946: He's smiling as he's unclipped from the harness, and raises a national flag aloft.
  114. 1945: Miner number 28 emerges from the San Jose mine: Richard Villaroel.
  115. 1941: We think he's being greeted by his little sister, Antonia. She's taken off her hard hat and is beaming at the side of the shaft. She says her brother asked her to work hard at school while he was underground and she did, getting "really good" marks.
  116. 1939: Great images from the top of the mine. The indefatigable Mining Minister Laurence Golborne is chatting with Mr Villaroel's loved ones. He looks as interested and (almost) as alert as this time yesterday.
  117. 1937: Mr Villarroel will be especially glad about the timing of the rescue. He is about to become a father, with his girlfriend is due to give birth to a boy, Richard Junior.
  118. 1936: A mechanic, Mr Villaroel had worked in the mine for two years.
  119. 1935: Richard Villaroel now boarding the capsule, clapped off by his colleagues and rescuers.
  120. 1931: At the bottom of the rescue shaft the Chilean flag still stands proud, clearly visible where once there was a throng of miners in the cavern.
  121. 1928: Down goes the Phoenix, heading to pick up miner number 28 - Richard Villaroel.
  122. 1925: From BBC Mundo's Rodrigo Bustamante in Copiapo: Franklin Lobos emerges aboard the Phoenix 2 and applause and horns can be heard around the San Jose mine. The same kind of excitment can be felt in the city of Copiapo.
  123. 1921: Mr Lobos is up and out. He's smiling, he looks well, if a bit pale. Some hugs, some waves. A long embrace with his daughter. He gets a signed football and, yes, he is kicking it around.
  124. 1918: Franklin Lobos arrives at the surface - rescued miner number 27.
  125. 1914: Mr Lobos's football connections served him well in the mine. Barcelona star David Villa sent a signed t-shirt. Villa's father and grandfather were both miners.
  126. 1913: Franklin Lobos, 53, is a former local league footballer. He was working as a driver in the mine.
  127. 1912: And another man is on the way up. This operation is now slick and well-rehearsed.
  128. 1900: So, that's 26 miners out, seven still below and five rescuers in there along with them. But the pace is picking up - it took under 10 minutes for the capsule to bring out Claudio Acuna.
  129. 1904: And one other Claudio Acuna fact - he's reported to have proposed to have to his long-time partner, with whom he has a young daughter.
  130. 1901: Claudio Acuna celebrated a birthday while in the mine, turning 35.
  131. 1853: BBC World Service correspondent Piers Scholfield notes the increasing speed of the rescues: "9mins 13seconds for the last ascent! #chilemine" Read Piers Scholfield's tweets
  132. 1851: Claudio Acuna reaches the surface - the 26th miner rescued from the depths
  133. 1847: Claudio Acuna is being greeted by his wife, Fabiola Araya, who has brought him a signed football shirt from his favourite club Colo Colo.
  134. 1839: The 26th miner now being brought up is Claudio Acuna who celebrated his birthday in the mine on 9 September.
  135. 1834: Carla Colvert, from Clinton, Missouri, US, writes: "This has brought me such joy and hope. I stayed up late watching the first four emerge then immediately linked back in the morning to continue watching. I was so excited with each miner reaching the surface I took my laptop to my college classes and let my students see as they brought up more miners. The beauty of the world watching and cheering brings such joy across all nations. I hope I am home in time from my night class to see the last miner arrive on the surface." Have Your Say
  136. 1832: Renan Avalos's ascent was the fastest so far, according to BBC Mundo's Valeria Perasso who says it was timed at 9 minutes 13 seconds. Asked by one of the officials how the journey went, Renan described it as "really beautiful".
  137. 1830: Dave, from Alaska, US, writes: "I can feel the spiritual momentum these people are generating from a world away from where I sit. The common denominator of joy is fantastically contagious!" Have Your Say
  138. 1829: Renan Avalos looks remarkably composed as he arrives to be welcomed with a long embrace from his wife Brunela Oliva. His mother also gives him a hug.
  139. 1827: Renan Avalos, the 25th miner to be rescued, arrives at the surface.
  140. 1818: The 25th miner to be rescued, Renan Avalos, 29, is on his way up. Renan's older brother Florencio was the first miner to be brought to the surface just after midnight on Wednesday. He decided to come to work in the San Jose mine four months ago.
  141. 1816: More on the miner with pneumonia. The BBC's Rajesh Mirchandani in Copiapo says he is believed to be Mario Gomez but he is not thought to be seriously ill. Seventeen of the miners have now arrived at Copiapo hospital. Several have severe dental problems and some have eye problems. He says that none of the miners have slept since their return to the surface and that they have had their first proper meal, of rice, chicken and yoghurt.
  142. 1814: Steven Firth, from Grimsby, England, writes: "A great day for humanity, a great day for 33 ordinary men who from this day forward will always be grateful to see the sun rise, feel the wind in their hair and to see their children and their grandchildren grow. Surely the 13th October shall be a National Holiday for ever in Chile." Have Your Say
  143. 1812: Despite the lung problems facing one of the miners, Chile's health minister Jaime Manalich said their overall health was "more than satisfying". Several are expected to have dental surgery tomorrow and at least two will have to be treated under general anaesthetic because their dental problems are so severe.
  144. 1810: Chile-based Journalist Jorge Garreton tweets: "33 Trapped Chilean Miners: Big embrace between Jose Henriquez and his wife, much emotion and passion, the scene brings tears to the eye" Read Jorge Garreton's tweets
  145. 1806: Fernando Suarez, from Washington DC, tweets: "Health minister says rescue could wrap by midnight. Any delays would obviously delay rescue maybe 2am - 4am." Read Fernando Suarez's tweets

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Key points

  1. Rescue of 33 trapped miners ends in jubilation after 22 hours
  2. Last miner, Luis Urzua, emerged just before 2200 local time
  3. Live page reporters: Adam Blenford and Patrick Jackson
  4. All times Chilean local time (GMT -3 hours)
  5. Send us your comments via a form
  6. Take part in the debate: Have Your Say
  7. Read previous Live posts here

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