Copiapo, Chile -- Tests of the hole through which rescuers hope to hoist 33 miners trapped nearly half a mile below the surface of the Earth have proved "very promising, very positive," Chile's mining minister said Monday, adding that the rescue is expected to begin Wednesday, and possibly earlier.
"We are hoping to initiate the rescue beginning at zero hours on Wednesday," Laurence Golborne told reporters outside the mine. But, he added, "We're going to take all the time necessary to assure that the plans are adequate."
The test capsule, called Phoenix 1, was lowered overnight to 610 meters, 12 meters short of where the men are trapped, he said. "Not even dust fell inside," he said.
"We are extraordinarily content," Minister of Health Jaime Manalich said.