State media: Peru's president to supervise mine rescue

Peru: President to lead mine rescue
Peru: President to lead mine rescue


    Peru: President to lead mine rescue


Peru: President to lead mine rescue 03:27

Story highlights

  • Peru's president says it will be "a few hours" before the rescue begins
  • The miners' "spirits are quite high," President Ollanta Humala says
  • Nine miners have been trapped since Thursday
  • In 2010, 33 miners were rescued after being trapped underground for 69 days in Chile

Peru's president arrived Tuesday night at a mine in southern Peru, where he was expected to lead an operation to reach nine trapped miners.

"We have been able to talk with the miners. Their spirits are quite high," President Ollanta Humala told reporters outside the mine.

But more work needs to be done before the rescue begins, Humala said. Engineers were working to make sure the mine was secure "so there are no victims," he said.

"Those same engineers tell us that we have to wait a few hours. They haven't said how many," the president said.

The miners have been stuck since Thursday in the wildcat Cabeza de Negro mine in southern Peru.

Earlier Tuesday, one of the mining engineers in charge of the rescue declined to give a specific time frame for the operation.

"We can't say how long it will take right now to get them out, but I can guarantee that they are alive, that they are in good health, and that ultimately they are going to be freed alive," engineer Carlos Bejarano said.

Perú: Rescate de mineros
Perú: Rescate de mineros


    Perú: Rescate de mineros


Perú: Rescate de mineros 01:02

A cave-in over the weekend complicated efforts.

"It's very complicated work. We're taking into account all the necessary security measures to avoid risks among the rescuers themselves," said Cesar Chonate, a regional head of Peru's civil defense agency, the state-run Andina news agency reported.

Video from state-run TV Peru showed workers, wearing hard hats and headlamps, loading rocks into a pushcart by hand.

It was not clear what caused the initial collapse.

The miners have been getting oxygen, food and water through a tube, which has also allowed them to stay in contact with people above ground, Andina reported.

Peruvian Mining Minister Jorge Merino was also in the area and appealed to mining companies for their expertise, according to a statement from his office.

Mining is big business in Peru, which is a major world producer of copper, silver, gold and other minerals.

"The important thing is that the nine people are alive. We won't abandon them," Merino said.

The ordeal stirred memories of a 2010 Chilean mine collapse in which 33 men were trapped underground for 69 days. All those miners were rescued, pulled one by one from hundreds of meters beneath the Earth's surface with a specially designed capsule.

      CNN recommends

    • pkg clancy north korea nuclear dreams_00002004.jpg

      North Korea nuclear dream video

      As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
    • Photos: Faces of the world

      Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
    • pkg rivers uk football match fixing_00005026.jpg

      How to fix a soccer match

      Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
    • No Eiffel Towers, Statues of Liberties, Mt. Rushmores, Taj Mahals, Aussie koalas or Chairman Maos.

      15 biggest souvenir-buying no-no's

      It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.