(CNN Student News) -- October 14, 2010
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GROUP: Chi! Le! Chi Chi Chi ...Le Le Le! Viva Chile!
AZUZ: Hi, I'm Carl Azuz. It is Thursday, October 14th. We are very pleased to welcome you to a special edition of CNN Student News. That video clip we showed you at the start of today's show gives you an idea of why today is a special edition. When we taped this show last night, 25 miners had been rescued; the other 8 were waiting for their turn. The footage you're seeing here is of Florencio Avalos. He was the first man to ride up in that Phoenix capsule and reach the surface after more than two months underground. It was a rescue that came with concerns and potential danger. But so far, a success.
AZUZ: This is an incredible story, one that we've been covering for a while. We want to go back and look at some of the biggest moments that have happened. This all started on August 5th. That's when a collapse in the San Jose mine in Chile left 33 men trapped 2,300 feet underground. At first, emergency workers couldn't get in touch with the miners. But about two-and-a-half weeks after the cave-in, on August 22nd, a probe that officials were using to try to find the miners came back up with this note attached to it. It said, "We are fine in the shelter, all 33 of us." That's when things kicked into high gear.
Below ground, the miners were getting supplies from the surface. Above ground, authorities started working on three plans to drill down and reach the men. Plan B -- one of the drills -- hit the mark first. On September 17th, it reached the room where the miners had been staying. But the hole from Plan B, the drill, was only 12 inches wide. Officials had to make that bigger so that the men could escape. Last Saturday, October 9th, more than two months after the cave-in, the escape hole broke through.
Images from the Rescue
AZUZ: And that is how we got to where we are now. There have been some amazing images all along from this rescue mission. That one you saw at the start of today's show, for example. That was Mario Sepulveda, the second miner to come up. He had a ton of energy; he was cracking jokes, leading the crowd in that cheer.
Meanwhile, this is what things looked like underground. Rescue workers rigged up a camera down there so that people could watch a live feed of the miners getting ready to go up. You see that here. That's the Phoenix rescue capsule, with one of the miners inside, and this is what it looked like on his way up to the surface, for the first time in more than two months. This video was actually shot inside the tunnel as the capsule went up.
Mario Gomez, the oldest of the trapped miners, used to tell his wife to quit bugging him about saying his daily prayers. When he came out of the mine, Gomez hugged her and then kneeled down to pray. And when Claudio Yanez made it up to the surface, he ran right over to his fiancee. When he went down into the mine, she was just his girlfriend. She proposed to Yanez through a letter that she sent down to him while he was trapped underground.
AZUZ: And here is what that ride up looks like. This is a replica of the rescue capsule that CNN built. We want to give you some perspective here. I am not the smallest guy in the world -- I'm 6'2", about 210 pounds -- and you can see when the door's closed how tight a fit this thing is on me. I can't move around hardly at all. I can move my head just a bit. But this gives you an idea of what the miners traveled in, as they were hauled about half-a-mile through the Earth. Even someone smaller, as you can imagine from looking at this, would have very little room on the estimated 15-minute ride.
AZUZ: So, a lot of people have been concerned about the miners' medical condition, not just their state of mind as they traveled up through this. But being underground for two months, you might expect some of these miners to be in pretty bad shape. But, as you've seen over and over again, they seem to be doing great! Dr. Sanjay Gupta explains a little bit about what's happening during the rescue and afterward to make sure these guys are as healthy as possible.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Let me give you just a couple of small examples. When coming up through the shaft for the mission itself, the rescue mission, you want to make sure that something terrible doesn't happen. Someone doesn't have a fainting episode, pass out, something like that. And so, you want to make sure that you're giving enough fluids so the heart continues to pump blood through the body, but not give too many fluids, otherwise it could actually impede breathing.
Medical triage is pretty consistent afterwards: checking the airway, checking the breathing, checking the circulation. That's what will be done in the field hospital and then off to a larger hospital for more advanced testing. But again, just remarkable in terms of how good these miners have looked up to date. Again, medical triage really speaks heavily to that. Back to you for now.
AZUZ: When he posted about the rescue on his official Twitter page, Chile's President Sebastian Pinera thanked the leaders of different countries, including Brazil, Ecuador and the United Kingdom. This really has been a global team effort, different countries coming together to help out. And as those miners came out of the ground, the world watched together. From Sri Lanka to San Francisco, Japan to Mexico, New York, Washington and the Vatican, people tuned in to watch the rescue efforts. Many of them burst into applause every time another miner came out of the capsule. President Pinera said he invited the press to cover the rescue live so that "all the eyes of the world" could see it. President Obama, who offered his praise to the rescue workers and the Chilean government, said the story "inspired the world."
AZUZ: And within just an hour or two of us posting this yesterday on our blog and our Facebook page, we had comments. Suzie wrote, "every time a miner is brought up, I feel a wave of relief and pure happiness. I've never been more inspired; the miners' faith is incredible." From Brittany on Facebook: "I hope everything continues to run smoothly and that this will be a lesson to us about the dangers of mining." Cornelius on the blog can relate to what the miners' families are going through and wishes them the best. He prays that the rest of the miners get out safely. And from Topanga: "I am so glad there are people in the world who'll spend days and nights trying to rescue these brave miners."
Historical Chilean Rescue
AZUZ: Some excellent comments there. You can share yours on our blog or our Facebook page. When this story started back in August, some people worried that it would end in tragedy. But as these men showed up on the surface one by one, the emotions were exactly the opposite. Here is a look at the moments surrounding the rescue, and how people reacted to it.
DENNIS O'DELL, UNITED MINE WORKERS: I'm sitting here watching this whole thing, just like millions of people are, in total amazement. Thank God we have guys that will step up to the plate to do this.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And we've been told this will take about 15 to 17 minutes for him to be brought up.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, ANDERSON COOPER 360°: You're watching history being made here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, it was unprecedented, it's never been done before.
SEBASTIAN PINERA, CHILEAN PRESIDENT [TRANSLATED]: The magical number, 33, the first miner has been rescued and in a way that can make all Chileans proud.
HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: How are you feeling as you're watching this tonight?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Viva Chile, very excited, very excited.
GROUP: Chi! Le! Chi Chi Chi Le!
DR. KIM MANNING, EMORY UNIVERSITY: These are remarkable individuals who have survived the unthinkable.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's amazing, amazing. And again, you had 33 different personalities experience the same thing, which really means they had 33 different experiences.
MARIO SEPULVEDA, RESCUED CHILEAN MINER [TRANSLATED]: I am going to live a long, long time, to have a new beginning with my son, my dear wife, who has not let go of me since I came to the surface.
MIKE ROWE, HOST, "DIRTY JOBS": There's landing on the moon. There's this. I mean, there's a pretty short list of events people aren't going to forget watching, and I think this is probably somewhere near the top.
COOPER: One of the men, the youngest miner, Jimmy Sanchez, had written to his family saying that there weren't 33 miners down there. He said there are actually 34 of us because God has never left us down here.
PINERA [TRANSLATED]: I would like to thank God, because without his help, this would have not been possible.
SEPULVEDA [TRANSLATED]: I held on to God's hand, the best hand.
Before We Go
AZUZ: In all honesty, I wish more news coverage in general could feature scenes like the one you're about to see right here. This is the main town square in Copiapo, Chile; that's near where the mine is located. People there were reacting to what they saw on a giant TV screen: the sight of miners and their families reuniting. It's something we like to see at CNN Student News. I love what I do, but a lot of news in general is tragic...
AZUZ: And if every miner makes it back safely, this story would be triumphant. And who wouldn't want to report on that? I'm CNN Student News' Carl Azuz, and we'll talk again tomorrow.