Return to Transcripts main page
CNN BREAKING NEWS
Further Coverage of Chilean Mine Rescue
Aired October 13, 2010 - 01:58 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to the continuing coverage of the mine rescue efforts in Chile. I'm Rosemary Church.
MANN: And I'm Jonathan Mann. We also want to welcome our viewers tuning in from the United States and around the world to what may be the final hours of an incredible ordeal, with an ending unfolding live on television for all the world to see.
CHURCH: It has been spectacular. Chile's Plan B works like a charm, and all of Copiapo is celebrating. Weeks of drilling has made it a short trip for the 33 miners trapped since early August.
MANN: Now it's a 15 minute ride. And three of the men have already made that trip. They have been greeted by hugs and cheers from family and friends, and the Chilean president.
CHURCH: Yes. And the miners all appear safe and sound so far. But one is being whisked from the limelight for medical checks at this time. This is a round the clock operation. Right now, the specially made rescue capsule is on its way to pick up miner number four.
MANN: This is the longest anyone has ever been trapped underground and lived. CNN's Gary Tuchman joins us now at the mine with the latest.
Gary, this has never been attempted before with men this far underground for this length of time, but it seems to be going perfectly.
TUCHMAN: Jonathan, Rosemary, it's going very well. The most important thing we have seen so far is that two hours and 15 minutes ago, the first miner came up, which was wonderful, amazing, exciting, great news for his family and friends. But it was great news for the family and friends of the 32 other miners, because it proved that this theory that they could build a capsule that would bring a human being up almost 800 meter, people who were underground for 68 days, worked.
Indeed, it did work. Now the feeling is among the other family members that they soon will see all their loved ones, too. As you just said, two more miners have come up. The fourth one is expected up within the next 15 minutes. The fourth one is expected up within the next 15 minutes. The fourth one, by the way, is Carlos Mamani Solis. He is a significant miner because he is the only one of the 33 who is not Chilean. He's Bolivian. Bolivia is not too far away from here. What is notable about this particular man is he's only been a miner in Chile for five days. He's already told his family that he doesn't want to go back into mining.
I can tell you that I would bet my last dollar that you'll have some more of these remaining 32 miners who also make that decision not to go back into mining. But I will play you -- just an amazing site what we're seeing right now.
As I am talking, the wheel is spinning, pulling up the fourth miner. I am calling this the Wheel of Good Fortune, because if the wheel is working well, it's bringing good fortune to the family and friends of the miners who have been under so long.
Keep in mind that for the first 17 days -- this collapse happened on August 5th here in Chile, about 700 kilometers north of the capital of Santiago. And for 17 days, nobody knew if these men were alive. As a matter of fact, as we interview the men after they come out, one of the questions we'll be eager to ask this is did you think the world forgot about you, because they heard nothing for 17 days. But then a probe was inserted into the mine. They attached a note to the probe that said they were all fine, all 33. And then the race began to get them out safely. Now we're in the middle of it. So far, so good. Jonathan, Rosemary?
JONATHAN MANN, CNN ANCHOR: The first phase very much under way, Gary. But I'm curious about the miners who are ahead. There have come up, a fourth is on his way. But the authorities said in advance that they would bring up the healthiest miners first, and then there would be a second group that were less vigorous, less robust, suffering more from the effects of the underground ordeal. We are going to start seeing some of them, too, aren't we?
TUCHMAN: We are. That leads to what I was telling you about before, the significance of the first couple of rides up, particularly the first. Because they didn't know exactly -- they thought it would go well. Let's make no mistake about that. They did a test run without a human being yesterday and it went well. They thought it would go well, but they weren't sure what would happen, if it would bounce against the mine as it came up, if it would spin around, if it would make people discombobulated.
So that's why they wanted the healthy people riding first, just to get an idea of what's going on. Once they know it's going very safely and securely and well, then they are going to start bringing up some of the people who need to get up pretty quick. And those include two men, one who has diabetes, one who has hyper tension. So the weaker men -- but when I say weak, nobody is weak. They survived 68 days. It's just relatively speaking.
And then they will bring up the rest of them. The last person, we're told, will be coming up is the site supervisor. He's like the captain of the ship. He is not going down with the ship because everything is good, but he will be the last one to come up.
MANN: As we've been watching this unfold, the faces of the families, the faces of the miners are indelible. They will be in our memories forever. But I'm also watching, the capsule itself, it looks almost like a small makeshift rocket. And it looks like it's getting bumped around pretty badly. Are they having trouble with the door? Are they having trouble with the capsule in any particular way?
TUCHMAN: They did say before they brought back anybody that they had a little trouble with the door of the capsule. However, it's nothing serious. They said it was nothing serious then. And obviously it has been nothing serious, because they have been able to bring up the miners.
But I will tell you, you are talking about it looking like a rocket, Jonathan -- it's interesting, because when you see it, it looks like it is sitting there on a launch pad ready to take off. You're used to seeing that. Instead, you're seeing it down and go up, you know, go down to the center of the Earth.
It is just a surreal sight. What's nice about -- you know, surreal could also mean bad. In this case, surreal means good. We're seeing nothing we've ever seen before. We likely will never seen it again. And this is a breaking news story that is going to continue for 30 to 36 hours. We are going to have these rescues continuing throughout the day on Wednesday and probably early into Thursday, too. Hopefully when it's all over, we will have 33 very happy families and a happy country, Chile, and a happy world community. Everyone on Earth is watching this.
MANN: As we are talking to Gary Tuchman in Copiapo, a reminder that three of the miners have been brought up safely. A fourth is on his way. His name is Carlos Mamani Solis. We're waiting to see him any minute now. He has already said that he will never go back into the mines again. I am curious, Gary, from what we know about the donations that have made to these men, about the lawsuit that is pending, about the opportunities they may have for books or movies, whether any of them will ever have to go back into a mine again or if this dramatic exit under the whole world's eye is the last time these men will ever be underground.
TUCHMAN: Jonathan, I wouldn't mind writing the screen play to this. It's a great story. I can tell you that a lot of the family has been very blunt about it, that they are fully expecting that these weeks of suffering that their loved ones have had can result in financial gain. Some of them have said they will not do any interviews unless they are paid for it. At a place like CNN, we do not pay for interviews. So we are hoping to do some free ones like we usually do.
But the fact is they are very blunt, these families. They are hoping to get some financial gain from this.
CHURCH: We were told in all of this -- and it is really cinematic as we have been watching this unfold, that it would be just the opposite, that cameras would be barred from the scene, that we wouldn't see the miners, that they would be kept out of the public eye. And instead, the Chilean government seems to be -- and I say this without trying to sound flip -- putting on quite a show.
Is there any explanation for why the government has been so good about responding to the world's enormous curiosity about these men?
TUCHMAN: Jonathan, I think the transparency is notable. I think as news people we always like to see it. It's wonderful. But my question -- it's a rhetorical question right now is if this was tragedy and we knew these miners didn't survive, would there be as much transparency? I tend to doubt it.
MANN: CNN's Gary Tuchman at Copiapo, Chile, thanks very much. Rosemary?
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. You know, so far those capsules have ferried three miners to the surface, as we've been telling you. And a fourth is on his way. I want to get a bit more background on those men who have come to the surface. Fionnuala Sweeney joins us now with more details.
Fionnuala, for the men who have come to the surface, we've really seen right into their personalities, haven't we?
FINNUALA SWEENEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We have, indeed. And the first person we saw, Rosemary, coming up, if you can remember, was Florencio Antonio Avalos Silva. And he was essentially 31 years of age. And he comes from Copiapo in Chile. And he's been the cameraman, really, throughout this. He has been the person who has been supplying the videos of the miners throughout the last couple of months. And his brother is also trapped in the mine.
He was deemed to be one of the healthiest and one of the fittest, in case there were any problems with the capsule coming up on the first go. So he was deemed to be the person to make it first up to ground.
Now let's have a look at the next person who was to come up. This was really quite a character. He was -- let me just bring this up a little bit more here -- 40 years of age from Santiago. He was actually the spokesman and a bit of the joker, a video narrator. His name is Mario Sepulveda Espina. He's the unofficial spokesman, as I was saying.
And apparently his wife is an accountant. And while waiting at the camp, she was filling out tax returns for people. Also, he was the person who brought up all these rocks, if you recall, from the mine in this tiny capsule, where you could only just basically fit yourself. And he presented parts of the mine from underground to the president and his rescuers.
Now another person who was rescued within the last hour -- he is 52 years of age. He's an electrical mechanic. Haze name is Juan Illanes Palma. He retired from the Chilean Army. And he was just brought up just over an hour ago. Among his accomplishments was fighting in the conflict with Argentina. We is know as a singer. He's known to be very good at it. And we know that his letters to his wife were full of humor and optimism.
While we don't want to jump the gun, nonetheless, the person that we are talking about bringing up now is the only Bolivian among the miners, Carlos Mamani Solis. He is the only non-Chilean, we should say. And of course, the president of his country, Evo Morales, is expected to greet him when he comes up. he was only working at the mine for five days before the collapse. And he has -- the president of his country has promised to help him after his rescue.
We are looking at pictures now, live pictures, as you can see, of the family watching and waiting for his release, which should be coming up within the next few minutes. Because, as we have been saying, this has been going like clockwork. Not to jinx it at all, Rosemary, but it has been going according to plan so far.
CHURCH: All right. Just amazing, this story. Jon, we are looking at these live pictures now, of course, as we wait for the fourth miner to come to the surface. And it has just been extraordinary watching -- the world watching. Of course, we have received lots of Tweets. We've received lots of postings from people all around the world on Facebook. This has been a story that more than many that we have covered certainly in recent time has really --
Here we go. Here he is making it to the surface. Let's just listen.
CHURCH: There he is. Jon, as we've mentioned, he is -- of course, all of the other miners are from Chile. He is the sole Bolivian who has just been there for a very short time, in actual fact, and found himself trapped underground, and has sworn he will not return as a miner, and understandably so.
MANN: It's one of the extraordinary things as we watch all of this. We have seen the faces of these miners. And many of them are middle- aged men. They have been in the mines. They have had more than their share of adventures and mishaps in that very dangerous line of work. This man, Carlos Mamani Solis, is just 23 years old, one of the youngest of the men trapped underground, and certainly one of the least experienced.
This was all very new to him. Extraordinarily, really has suffered probably as bad as things can get underground and still survived. And survive he has. He is rescued miner number four, about to emerge from the Fenix Capsule, while, as we can see on screen, there is a woman and the president of Chile awaiting his arrival.
CHURCH: Yes. you know, his own president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, as we heard from Fionnuala there, has promised that he will offer all the support he can after this rescue, because these are very difficult times. All of the world's attention on these men as they come to the surface. The big problem a lot of times after these sorts of rescue is that a lot of them expect that this is going to continue and it doesn't. For a lot of them, they sort of disappear into the background.
Although I would suspect that this won't be the case for these gentlemen. But it is a very difficult time for them, even though they have been through all of this underground. The ordeal is not over at this point. It will continue.
MANN: As we watch, keep in mind, we're bringing these pictures live from Copiapo, Chile, which is now probably the most famous mining town in the world, and Camp Hope, the informal community set up around it. His sister is watching on the left of your screen. His sister is watching a live television broadcast from Bolivia as well. Each one of these men is coming up with a different look on their face, a different physical posture. No smiles so far. Just a sense of fatigue.
CHURCH: But a hero's welcome. Look at that. We're seeing different types of personalities, the extroverts, the introverts, some of them dealing with this in very, very different ways. There he is. A big hug. It's just fantastic to see these families reunited after two months apart. They have watched and waited for their loved ones to come to the surface. Here we are now all witnessing this right across the globe.
MANN: If you are just joining us, you probably know what you are seeing. We have been reporting on this extraordinary ordeal for 68 days now. Miners trapped under ground in a remote corner of Chile longer than any men who have been through this kind of calamity and survived, are now being brought up one at a time.
You are looking at the fourth of the miners now breathing fresh air and seeing his loved ones for the first time in more than two months. That's the president of Chile, who has made this very much a personal campaign. He has been involved in a very personal way, putting his own popularity on the line to draw his whole nation into this rescue effort. It has succeeded, I think, by any measure, and probably more so than many people might have hoped.
CHURCH: Of course, what happens now, as we see, he is wearing these glasses that these glasses that they all will need to wear when they come to the surface to protect their eyes, having been underground for 68 days. They have to be very careful about that. They're going to be scrutinized. Medical checks will take place. they will have to go to a hospital for a minimum of two days to be checked out, to make sure all their vital signs pan out the way they should at this point.
Of course, it's the first time so many have stayed underground for this length of time. So these men are really, in essence, a study for a lot of scientists and a lot of people with medical backgrounds.
MANN: On a much more superficial level, you might notice that he looks pretty good. He looks pretty clean. In fact, they all have -- the miners benefited, even at the worst of their ordeal, from a natural spring which brought them running water. They were able to bath in it. They requested and received shampoo and obviously razors.
These men are coming up looking remarkably well considering everything that they have been through. There was some concern that the journey would be an ordeal. There was enormous concern that the men would grow nauseous, that the trip inside that capsule would be twisting and turning and bumpy and hard on them physically. No indication that that has happened. The trip seems to have been a brief one up, maybe 15 or 17 minutes per miner.
And the men seem to have come up with -- really not much worse for wear. After everything they've been through, I think that's one of the surprises, is hardy all of them look. Tough Chilean miners, or in this case a tough, young Bolivian emerging now, going to be studied and poked by medical specialists, but looking remarkably well for men who spent so much time wondering if they would even survive.
CHURCH: Looking here at Carlos Mamani Solis, a Bolivian, as you say, Jon, the only non-Chilean among the group, a young man who has gone through so much after just five days being in that mine, and then it collapsed. So for him, this is an incredible experience, along with those other men.
They will have lived something together -- those 68 days no one else will ever understand. Of course, we will start to see all their stories unfold, all 33 stories, as we watch this extraordinary rescue unfold.
MANN: If you are watching from home, do sit down and get something to eat, because this will go on for a while. By my watch, it's been about three hours since the first of the miners came out. It's been extraordinary. It seems inappropriate to describe it as simply dramatic television, but this is really human drama unfolding before our eyes. It will go on probably for another 19 or 20 hours, as the tube, the capsule descends back into the mine and then is brought back up again.
This will be going on through the night Chile, a night lit, as you can see, by lighting, by the light of the moon. Perfect weather for this kind of operation. Weather permitting, this will go on through the night and into the day, with miners emerging most hours to start their lives again.
CHURCH: Of course, you mention the reaction from across the globe. We've seen all the Tweets, people talking about this. It is like watching a thriller unfold. It's a nail biter for a lot of people right across the globe. Keep those thought coming in because we do want to check out some more of them.
But, you know, we're not only covering this story. There are a lot of other things going on. We have this just in to CNN. Iranians President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has just arrived in Lebanon. Now it is a controversial visit, seen as a boost for key ally Hezbollah. And the trip will take him close to the border with arch foe Israel. So we are keeping a very close eye on that story.
MANN: OK. But, of course, our gaze never shifts for long from Copiapo, Chile, where the fourth miner has just been rescued after 68 -- or make it 69 days underground.
CHURCH: That's right. Four above ground now. And they will continue to pull these men out until the very last is brought to the surface. And we will be with them for the whole journey. Don't go away.
CHURCH: Well, of course, the world's eyes are on this story and this story alone for now. There are about 1,500 members of the media in the mine area. They represent some 300 different media outlets from 39 countries. So there is enormous interest in this story. So what are viewers around the world saying about the rescue?
Well, Atika Shubert is in CNN London with reaction from there. Atika?
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. This is a real life drama. A lot of people have been glued to their television sets. It's at the top of the news here in London, "Rescue Mission," as the headline from the Times. And at "The Independent," here a huge picture of the mine site, saying "The Dawn of Hope."
So as you can imagine, there has been reaction coming in from around the world. In Washington D.C., the Chilean ambassador celebrated with a bottle of champagne when that first miner came up and was rescued. And President Obama also came out with comments. He came out with a statement that said "our thoughts and prayers are with the brave miners, their families and the men and women who have been working so hard to rescue them. While that rescue is far from over and difficult work remains, we pray that by God's grace the miners will be able to emerge safely and return to their families soon. We are also proud of all the Americans who have been working with our Chilean friends on the ground to do everything we can to bring these miners home."
So that's some of the reaction that came in from the U.S. side.
But people have been reacting from as far away as Sri Lanka. We had one eye reporter actually send in the report of what her reaction was when she saw that first miner being rescued. Here's what she had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is an emotional moment. A moment of happiness.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHUBERT: We've had iReports coming in from all over, actually, from Bolivia, from Ecuador, from all over. And I can even say that here in London, my own mother stayed up all night to watch this drama unfold. So there's definitely a lot of people watching, a lot of people happy that these miners have finally been rescued.
CHURCH: All right. Thanks so much, Atika. Appreciate that. Keeping an eye on reaction from there.
MANN: And so four miners have been rescued. Twenty nine are still underground. But all together, the sage of the 33 men and their on- going rescue efforts has captivated all of us for just about the last two months.
We invite you to join us as we witness their final rescue. Share your experience as you watch it live with us. Shoot a video and upload it at CNNIReport.com. The assignment is on the web, so go check it out and be part of really what is a worldwide experience.
The rescue effort continues in Copiapo, Chile. Four men are already up in a scene that you really can't describe, you had to see it. But their faces were glowing. The faces around them were glowing. And still the path is busy. Traffic going up and down. A fifth man will be on his way soon.
CHURCH: A good feel story. The world is watching. And we will continue to do the same. Don't go anywhere. We will continue after this.
CHURCH: We are continuing to cover this rescue story from Chile. I want to take a look at the first four men who have come out of that mine. And the first one out was Florencio Avalos. He's 31 years old, from Copiapo. And he is second in command of the group, and was chosen because of his great physical condition, and also his knowledge will be helpful in getting the other men out.
It was very important that the first one be very strong and know exactly what was going on should something go wrong. Because that was the problem with being the first person out.
Then Mario Sepulveda made quite a splash when he came up from the mine. That was just a few hours ago now. You would remember, he is from Santiago. And he marked his 40th birthday last week inside that mine. So he will never forget turning 40. That's for sure. He had become a spokesman for the group, appearing on camera, narrating videos sent to the surface. Very much the extrovert.
And 52-year-old Juan Illanes Palma, now he came up third. He's an electrical engineer, served in the Chilean military during the conflict with Argentina.
And then the fourth man -- we just witnessed him coming to the surface, Carlos Mamani Solis. He is 23 years old, and the only non- Chilean in that group. He hails from Bolivia. And he worked in that mine only for five days prior to that collapse. He has sworn he never wants to go down a mine ever again. Certainly understandable, and no doubt a sentiment shared by many of the other miners there.
MANN: We're waiting for the fifth miner to come out. He will be the youngest in the group. Of course, we'll go back to the scene live when we see him emerge.
The miners have managed to stay surprisingly upbeat throughout the whole ordeal. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MANN: That was back in August, the men singing Chile's national anthem, the first time crews managed to establish an audio connection. And just a few weeks later --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) (FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MANN: We got this video of the miners after rescuers managed to send the men food, water, and fresh clothing. High spirits despite living in a tiny 156 square meter chamber. And just a few hours ago, of course -- I think none of us are going to forget this -- we saw Mario Sepulveda right after his release.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MANN: The man moves like a rock star. He was high fiving everyone, giving bear hugs to the rescuers and the president, too. Sepulveda looked absolutely thrilled to be finally free of the mine and remarkably robust, given everything he'd been through.
CHURCH: Just incredible. As we saw, Mario Sepulveda was lively, upbeat when he reached the surface. Then he was whisked off to a medical triage unit for immediate evaluations. Aside from medical problems, what emotional issues may arise?
Well, clinical psychologist Paula Bloom addressed that issue with our Colleen McEdwards a little earlier. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAULA BLOOM, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: With psychological stuff, it is so hard to know. There's such a difference between sort of what you see immediately and then what you see as far as the onset. When you are looking at something like post-traumatic stress disorder, you're looking at when there's the onset. It doesn't necessarily happen immediately.
So I think a long term approach of evaluating them is important. And one of the key things too for family members -- I know we are really, really curious and excited. But it's important that they follow the lead of the miner. Some may want to talk and some may not want to talk. It is very similar to what you advise when you're talking to people who have veterans who have combat related PTSD, is that you want to respect the process of the miner.
COLLEEN MCEDWARDS, CNN ANCHOR: How important will it be, Paula, for this group of 33 to remain, in a sense, together once they go back to their regular lives and as they sort of process all of this? I mean, to what extent is that group experience and relationship going be important moving forward?
BLOOM: I think it is going to depend. I mean, who knows what it was really like down there. It will be interesting when that comes out. But honestly, I mean, nobody else can fully get it. So I think the power of being amongst people who really get it -- like any other support group, right? People who really get it, they have been there. I think it's going to be really profound.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Well, you know, Dr. Bloom's family is from Chile, and she said it is gratifying to watch the country deal with this crisis. Jon?
MANN: So let's talk about the miners again from a different angle. How will they feel when they breathe fresh air once again? Jennifer Delgado is at the International Weather Center with more on what is literally a change in atmosphere.
Jennifer, one of the things we saw was steam rising out of the rescue shaft as the two temperature areas converged. I guess it is going to feel suddenly like it is winter to those guys.
JENNIFER DELGADO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: You know, absolutely. It is definitely going to feel quite different. You mentioned that steam. That is actually condensation coming from the ground, where temperatures have been roughly between 30 and 33 degrees. And when that air travels up towards a cooler surface, you get that condensation.
Now, temperatures I said have been running about 30 to 33 degrees since we've been dealing with this over the last 63 days -- correct me if I am wrong. But as we look at the depth, at 620 meters -- now I want to talk about the pressure. It's roughly about 15 percent higher than sea level.
Now once we start to see those capsules climbing up, things start to change. And we see it moving roughly at a pace of about three kilometers per hour. That is very close to what you see in a standard elevator, say in a building about 10 stories high. Now, the capsule weighs roughly 450 kilograms. So it's four meters and 54 centimeters.
Once that continues to climb, again we're going to start to see the pressure dropping. And once we get to the surface, we're going to see a big change with the temperatures and, of course, the pressure. We're talking about a 20, 25 percent change. And if you want to know how it relates to -- from being, let's say, ten percent lower at sea level, down towards this area, down towards below surface -- it's roughly like taking off in a plane. That's why you'll hear maybe the possibility of some of those miners with their ears popping as they make their way up to the surface.
Now the temperatures, that's going to be the big, drastic change there. Eight to 13 degrees, especially when you are dealing with an elevation of 850 meters.
Now, let's talk about the descent of the capsule. Now, we've been seeing it moving roughly right around 15 minutes. Now they were saying they were estimating anywhere between 25 and 30. Well, of course, that's the force of gravity. But we think, with the capsule going down with the rescuer, that's actually changed the pace of those capsules actually descending. Now, ascending it comes up much faster, roughly about 10 to 15 minutes. We have that wench that helps pull the capsule up. Of course, that speeds up the process of the ascent of the capsule. Certainly, I know the miners are very happy about that.
Now, let's talk about weather conditions across that Atakama Desert. Temperature right now 11 degrees, wind chill 11. Winds from the southeast at seven kilometers per our.
Now, I pointed out to you the winds and the visibility, of course, because they're going to be flying those miners to the hospital. Now, the weather is actually going be nice for the next three days. We're looking at temperatures climbing to roughly 23 degrees in the afternoon. We are going to see a lot of sunshine out there. Of course, we've been pointing that out because of how that's going to affect the miners' eyes.
But I can't tell you this, it looks like it is going to be dry. It's going to be sunny. And the weather is going to cooperate for the next three days. Rosemary?
CHURCH: You know, Jen, it is like everything has just fallen into place. It's just perfect, isn't it. Thanks so much. We'll check in again with you very soon.
You know, this whole rescue, it's a complicated and fascinating process. And have actually put together an interactive explainer on just how the rescue works. That's on our website. And it shows how the 33 miners are being pulled out, and how that rescue capsule works. So explore it all at CNN.com.
MANN: Four men are up, 29 are still below ground. But the operation is proceeding and you can see happy faces across Copiapo, and across homes around the world, where people are watching and literally sharing in the delight that this 68 days of waiting are over. A rescue operation that has involved some 1,000 people is succeeding. The men are all coming home.
CHURCH: And not many times, Jon, that we get to cover good news stories. This is a great story for us to be watching, for the world to be watching. We are hearing from you. Keep your comments coming into us, because we want to know what you are thinking and feeling at this time as we cover this story. Stay with us.
CHURCH: The world is watching and so are we. Welcome back to our special coverage of the mine rescue efforts in Chile. I'm Rosemary Church.
MANN: And I'm Jonathan Mann. We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world, joining us as we use the global resources of CNN to capture just about everything we can about an extraordinary and historic operation.
CHURCH: It is certainly that. We want to get an update on what's happening with the rescue right now. So let's turn to Gary Tuchman, who joins us now live from the San Jose Mine in Chile with the very latest. Gary, it has been extraordinary watching these four men now come to the surface. Still 29 underground.
What have been the thoughts there as those men have come to the surface?
TUCHMAN: Well, there is basically a one word explanation for how people around here, whether they're rescuers, family members, journalists feel right now. And that word is euphoria. You were just talking before the break about we don't cover good news stories a lot. And the fact is when we do, they are usually feature story.
But this is a hard news, breaking news story that is absolutely good news so far, and we anticipate it staying that way. We expect it to last for 30 to 36 hours of good news. At least that's what we're hoping, that it continues with good news. And by every token, we do expect it to remain so.
Right now, the wheel you see behind me is turning counter-clockwise. When it turns counter-clockwise, we have learned that it is going down to pick up another miner. It starts turning clockwise, it's coming back up. It takes about 15 minutes once it has picked up a miner, this capsule, to deliver the miners safely to Earth, after being 750 meters below for 68 days.
That's almost ten weeks, the longest any people have ever survived underground. It is a record. It's never happened before in civilization. Never happened before in the mining industry that people have survived that long.
This is an ingenious plan. Once they found out these men were alive -- and they didn't know for two and a half weeks these men lived. These men may not have known that anyone even thought they were alive any more. They thought they were going to -- may have thought they were going to die down there, be entombed.
Instead, they were found. And then this plan was hatched, to get a capsule, drill holes. They had three holes that were drilled, Plan A, Plan B, Plan C. Whichever plan finished first, that's the plan that they were going to put the capsule in.
Plan B finished first. That's what Plan B was. Now it is where the Chilean flag is. It's where the workers are right now. And that's where they are pulling people up. Four up, 29 to go. And we are now waiting for miner number five. Rosemary?
CHURCH: Gary, the important thing now is the youngest miner coming to the surface, an 18-year-old. He has had a few troubles. He has had a few problems to deal with. Tell us about him.
TUCHMAN: Jimmy Sanchez Lagues, he's 18 years old. And he said that he just can't wait to come back up and have his mother's home cooking again. It has been tough for him. The average age in this mine is in the 30s or 40s. The oldest miner 63. There is no one close to his age. It certainly has been a difficult situation. It's been difficult for everybody. I mean, something I just said before, keep that in mind, for 17 days, no one knew these men were alive. Can you imagine the feeling, no matter what your job is, if you thought that no one was going to come rescue you and you were in a dire circumstance.
The psychological trauma these men must have gone through -- but by the same token, when they found out that people above were still looking for them, and they were able to communicate the fact that they were still alive, the hope they had. And that hope has resulted in this day tomorrow, and possibly early Friday, getting all 33 men out.
CHURCH: All right, Gary Tuchman talking to us there at the San Jose Mine there in Chile. I want to just have a look at what's going on here. Here we go. We have got family members waiting -- if we can just get a little bit more information on what's going on here in this picture.
MANN: What we are looking at, I believe, is the reunion room that has been set up. The miners, when they first emerged, were surrounded by rescue officials. They were surrounded, of course, by the president and his entourage. And they had a chance to meet with one or two special people.
But the Chilean government has also set aside quarters for them to meet with larger groups of their family. We're watching this now. To be honest, it looks a little bit like an awkward reunion in front of television cameras. But there have been so many television cameras put into place by the Chilean government that even right now this miner is not getting a whole lot of privacy. He looks like he is resting in the company of his family while we watch.
MARIO SEPULVEDA, RESCUED MINER (through translator): God doesn't carry out tests with anyone, no. I think we have the possibility of being able to face things in life like we have just faced. I have faced many situations, but I think this was the hardest. But I am so happy that it happened to me, because I think that it was a time to make changes. And this country must understand, once and for all, that we can make changes.
And many changes have to be made. We can't stay as we are. I think that business people have to help so changes can be made as to workers. Things cannot stay the way they are. I think changes must take place for workers, so there will be changes. We cannot stay as we are, under no circumstance.
I was with God and I was with the Devil. But God won. I held on to God's hand, the best hand. And at no point in time -- how do I explain this? At no point in time did I doubt that God would get me out of there. Once we found out that there were such extraordinary people as there were up there working to get us out -- another thing that's very important, we always knew that there was a great person mixed into all of this, aside from the great government.
We have really trusted a lot. I always trusted him because I know he is a great business man, very successful. I think that what he has done has done -- he has done it with great effort. He deserves to be where he is based on the effort that he has exercised. His wealth, if we can call it that, he has earned it through perseverance and hard work.
He -- I am very proud to have the government we have today, the people who work for it, very proud of the Chilean workers, the people who worked here, very proud,
I am very proud of our top -- (SPANISH) I will never stop being grateful for what he has done for us. I think he is extraordinary. The Chilean professionals, the doctors, the psychologists, unbelievable. They gave us back our lives.
It's incredible that there we were down 700 meters and they recovered us. We put -- we did a little on our side. WE used our miners' hearts. We used our experience as miners. But everything else, the professionals are the ones who contributed. The professionals who do all of this, the advertising, TV --
The only thing I ask for on the personal level is to please don't treat us as newspaper people or artists. I want to be treated as Mario Sepulveda, as a worker, a miner. That's what I want. I want to continue to work, because I think I was born to die tied to the anvil.
I believe I was brought up in a beautiful way, with two old people in the 7th region. Domingo -- (SPANISH) we were going call her that name, but we called her something else. Their great grandparents and values, beautiful values that gave me. And they gave this to me.
Life has given me beautiful things. I have had a rough time, but you know what? I have learned wonderful things. And I have taken the good path in life. To those of you who have the possibility of being at home and love their husbands, their wives, do it. Those people -- those of you have who have the possible of talking to your spouse before you do things you shouldn't do, or a husband or who is going do things he shouldn't do, before doing this, -- before you do it, you have got to talk.
Don't put an end to things just like that. Love is the most beautiful thing in the world. The love of a parent is the most beautiful thing.
I'm very happy for all the beautiful things you have done for us. I'm so happy. Really I am filled with emotion. It's great to be back up here. And I'm going 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, and my daughter and my son whom I love so much.
Thank you very much. Thank you.
MANN: A few remarkable words of faith and philosophy and gratitude from Mario Sepulveda, the talkative miner, who has emerged as a spokesman while he was still underground, and now is the most ebullient of the miners who have come to the surface.
CHURCH: Indeed. And he was saying he is going live a long time with his son, his daughter, his wife. He loves them. He said love is just the most beautiful thing. He gave a little bit of advice to men to think about their wives and maybe think twice about doing anything they shouldn't. And he said the love of a parent, there is nothing like it.
But he also said he didn't want to be treated differently. He said I am a miner and he wants to go back into the mine, unlike some of the other miners who experienced this.
MANN: Intriguingly, when we first went to him, when we first realized here on the set, anyway, that he was giving this address, he said things have to change for the workers. Now, the majority of the families of these 33 miners have already signaled that they intend to sue the mining company. These miners are incredibly cheerful. They're looking good. But clearly their families are angry and they are seeking redress. And we got a sense of that in hearing from this man, Mario Sepulveda, as we heard just ago speaking to a worldwide audience for the first time, and apparently quite comfortable with that roll, enjoying his opportunity to say a few things now that, at last, he can talk to the world and he is no longer underground.
CHURCH: And he made those comments about the mine and the conditions of the miners. But he also was very clear in pointing out the trust that he had in his government. He spoke very highly of the professionals who have helped in this, the doctors, the psychologists who have really given -- his words,.he said they have given him back his life, given back those 33 miners back their lives. Because they talked them through this whole ordeal, right through, from day one to day 68 and coming above ground.
Jon, it is interesting that he has insisted, don't treat me any differently, I'm just a miner. But he is clearly the spokesman for this group of men. And I think we are going to see a lot more of him.
MANN: I think he's preparing for a new career. But while we are talking about him, we looking now at the fifth man, who is still waiting to come up. This would be Jimmy Sanchez Lagues. He is 18 years old the youngest of the trapped miners. A young man who says he really misses his mother's home cooking. If all goes according to plan, it won't be a whole lot longer. Four men are already above ground. We're looking at live pictures.
Extraordinary access, once again. Extraordinary because the government of Chile has permitted it. Extraordinary because technology has permitted it. You are looking at live pictures now of the Fenix Capsule as it is preparing to go up through the rescue shaft, that whole you can see very clearly in the roof of the cave, surrounded by rescue workers.
One point to make, as we do the math on who has come up and who has gone down, four men have come up, but I believe an equal number were to descend by now. So there are still 33 men underground, four of them volunteers who chose to go underground as rescue workers, mine safety experts, who are assisting in the evacuation of the mine.
So there are now 29 miners, four rescue workers and four men who have already been freed from their ordeal, as Jimmy Sanchez Lagues, the youngest of them at age 18, waits for his turn.
CHURCH: Of course, those four volunteers have the advantage on their side. They haven't been trapped underground for 68 days, right? So they can sort of approach this at a different mind set.
But it is interesting, this young fellow, this 18-year-old who will be the fifth miner brought to the surface. His girlfriend, she told us that he actually fears the dark. He doesn't like confined spaces, which is very unusual. Generally miners, they're not people who have problems with feeling claustrophobic, because it comes with the job. .
MANN: This was a point that was made over and over to us in the course of this, that the men underground were experienced in this environment, that as frightening as this ordeal was, as dangerous as it was, as claustrophobic as it was, these were, after all, trained miners. This is a second home.
Well, it's not for all of them. We saw just a short time ago a man who had entered the mine just a week before the collapse. It was his fifth working day when the mine collapse happened. He is now up. Now this 18-year-old youngster, he couldn't have been very experienced in the mines either. And as you say, he didn't like it down there. He has had more than his share.
CHURCH: Yes. And apparently his girlfriend also said that he was concerned about the spirits of dead miners. So he has not enjoyed one part of these 68 days. The other men went about their routines and found a way to move forward. This young 18-year-old, he did as well. But for him, he had many more demons to confront.
MANN: It's interesting, because as public as this process has been, and as incredibly intimate as the video contact has been with the miners, some of the miners chose not to be as vocal or as available as the others. We are still waiting to hear the fullest story of what those men did and how they interacted through their long ordeal.
It has been on the surface a story of remarkable resiliency. But we haven't heard the whole story. And it will be young Jimmy Sanchez Lagues and the others who now will have a chance to tell the story more fully. We are waiting. Once again, you can see the live picture. We're waiting for the fifth man to rise up.
CHURCH: And it will be interesting when Jimmy comes to the surface, because all of these men we have seen different types of personalities come to the surface, haven't we, and deal with this in so many different ways.
So we are watching this now, as the capsule will eventually make its way up to the surface. We are watching.
MANN: Welcome back. You are looking at the on-going rescue effort at Copiapo, Chile, Camp Hope. That's probably the most famous copper mine in the world, Copiapo probably the most famous mining town. All because of 33 men who spent 68 into 69 days underground there. Four of them are now above ground; 29 Are still waiting far a chance to leave as well.
You're looking now at the next man due up. His is Jimmy Sanchez Lagues. He is in the capsule called Fenix, waiting to be brought to the surface.
The mine itself has never seen anything like this. The world has never seen anything like this, of course. But that mine has been operating since the late 1800s, part of a mining complex that produces around 1,200 tons of copper every year.
The mine has been linked to several fatal accidents in the past. It is operated by a local company, though most of the country's copper is extracted, in fact, by foreign companies that invest heavily in safety to comply with international standards.
The treasure, though, is the copper. Chile is the world's top copper producer. The men trapped underground among the thousands who toil without similar fame in a very dangerous line of work. Rosemary?
CHURCH: You know, Jon, what has been extraordinary with this story is that we have been flooded with Tweets and Facebook posts on the mine rescue. Here is just a sample of what has been coming in to us. Let's go Likam Ulah (ph) in South Africa, who says "goose bumps all over. Wonderful scenes coming from Chile."
So that's there. Let's go to James in Egypt, see what James has to say. He writes in quite a bit, and "I want one of those rocks from the mine. I have a feeling that they are blessed."
I suspect, James, you are right. Let's go to Bubba now from South America, "an inspiration. Some said it wouldn't be successful," of course talking about the rescue her, "but it is." And yes, it is.
Let's go to Fara in the Philippines now. "So happy for them, 30 to go." Of course, it's 29 now. This was a little earlier. "The whole world is watching. I hope he brought rocks too." Fara in the Philippines.
That just gives you an idea. Everyone wanting a souvenir, of course, in the form of those rocks that Mario Sepulveda brought up. And that is just an idea of what's coming into us. So many Tweets, so many postings, Jon, on Facebook pages. And that is just an idea of what we're hearing.
And be sure to check out some of the interactive resources we have online for this story, including this 360 degree panorama. Now it provides you a better idea of the rough and desolate terrain at that rescue site. You can find this and more at CNN.com/Miners.
All right, we're going take another short break. We're watching the capsule here. Of course, Jimmy, the youngest of these miners -- there it is. It's going up, disappearing on its way up to the surface. We are going to see Jimmy, the youngest. He is 18 years old. He has had a lot of problems -- a lot of things to overcome down underground.
But we will get a taste of how he feels once he gets to the surface. That is just about 15 minutes away in actual fact. But we will continue to cover this story. Don't go anywhere.