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CNN BREAKING NEWS
More Coverage of the Chilean Miners Rescue Operaitons
Aired October 13, 2010 - 03:00 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 CNN's special rolling coverage of the incredible rescue operation underway right now at a collapsed mine in Chile. I'm Rosemary Church.
JONATHAN MANN, CNN ANCHOR: And I am Jonathan Mann. We will be taking you live to the scene in just a moment. But you can see the wheel is turning. The wench is bringing a man up. Gary Tuchman is standing by live.
But let's bring you up to date with where things now stand. It's a bit of math. Miners have been pulled to safety already. If you're just joining us, four of them are already on the surface; 28 of them are waiting their turn more than 600 meters underground.
But one is on his way up. When you see that wench, when you see that wheel turning in that direction, it means the capsule is coming up.
What's waiting for them at the surface? Well, moments like this were 68 days in the making. And the rumors -- the reunions above ground have been just jubilant. The miners seem to be in remarkably good health and even better spirits.
This is an unprecedented rescue effort. It's been going on through the night. Workers pulled the first miner out about four hours ago, shortly after midnight local time.
CHURCH: Now, rescue workers are now in the process of pulling out this fifth miner. I want to get the latest from Gary Tuchman. He has been at the mine all night watching this unfold. Gary, of course, this is critical, because this, as we keep saying -- this man is the youngest, Jimmy, and he has had a few problems below ground. So he is probably more happy than anybody to come up to the surface.
But he doesn't like confined spaces, so he is probably not feeling too thrilled about his situation right now.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I will tell you that all 33 aren't too thrilled to have been down here this long. They're all happy to come up. But Jimmy Sanchez, the 18 year old who is coming up now, and by my clock should be up in about eight minutes, where you see all the people right down there -- he has had some emotional issues down there. And it's certainly to be understand.
It is his first job. He is a father of a four month old daughter. He misses his mom's cooking, he said. So he's going to be very glad to be above ground in eight minutes. He will be the fifth miner to be successfully rescued. That will leave 28 more, and at the rate we are going, about 45 to 55 minutes per trip. We are expected that by Thursday night local time, or early Friday morning all 33 men will be rescued.
It's going like clockwork so far. It's going so well. We anticipated it would go well, but until it began four hours ago and the first man was pulled and he walked out of the capsule and his family was there to greet him -- it was so touching.
We cover a lot of emotional stories. But I'm standing here on this platform with about 150 other journalists, and we're just all in awe of how this has transpired, how this has worked. It really is like a Hollywood movie, but it is real life. And it is so good after covering horrible stories like the drug cartel and terrorists who don't think twice about killing an innocent person, seeing how hard these Chileans have wormed to save the lives of these 33 men, how grateful the families are at Camp Hope or Camp Esperanza, as they call it in Spanish, but camp Hope in English.
They named it that because they hoped their loved ones would be found alive and rescued. And it's happening. This is a good news story. I get a lot of criticism from my friends and from people who aren't necessarily my friends saying how come you don't ever cover good news. This is good news. It's a wonderful story to cover. People have worked very hard to make it happen.
And we are watching history, because something like this has never happened before.
CHURCH: Gary, you're exactly right. This is good news. And you mentioned that it is going like clockwork. And you also mentioned that when we see that wheel going in a clockwise direction, then we know that we are about to see a man surface. Of course, we have been watching 18-year-old Jimmy Sanchez who will I guess now in about six minutes come to the surface.
So Gary, tell us about his family members. Who is standing by to greet him when he comes to the surface?
TUCHMAN: We're not exactly sure, Rosemary. We haven't been privy to the details of which family members will be standing by when each of the miners appears. They have been told, all the families, that they could have three representatives come to greet their loved ones.
What happens is they greet their loved ones when they come out of the cage. It is very interesting. We call it a capsule, which is a more I guess dramatic name. Sounds like a rocket. But the translator who is talking while it is going up keeps calling it a cage.
Either way, the cage or the capsule, when it opens up, the loved ones are there. Then the miner is taken to a temporary hospital, which is right next to the area, just to make sure there is nothing seriously wrong. And then they are driven to a reunion house that has been built a little distance away from here. And in the reunion house are their family members, where they can talk, where they can hug, where they can kiss.
You just saw a short time ago -- it was amazing -- Mario Sepulveda -- he is 40 years old, the father of two. He decided to speak. We weren't sure anyone would necessarily speak for free, because we were told by the family members they want to get paid ultimately. But Mario Sepulveda did speak. It was really eloquent and nice how he talked about how important love and how much he loved his wife and his children. It was really a great moment.
CHURCH: He was exceptional. Wasn't it? He was really -- for him, I think this has been a rebirth. Jon and I were talking about the fact that he, of all of them, has said I am just a miner. Don't treat me any differently after this. I think it is going to be impossible for people to treat him just as a miner. I mean, this is an extraordinary man who has become the spokesman for all of these 33 miners trapped below ground.
TUCHMAN: I think Mario is a major league miner. That's what I think. And I think all 33 of these men will be celebrities. I think 32 of them could run for the president of Chile some day. And one of them, who is a Bolivian, could run for the president of Bolivia. That is how popular I think these men will be for a long time. It's a great story. It will be in the history books, and it will be in psychology books about how to deal with psychological issues. And it may be even in medical books. It will be in mining books. It's going to be a big part of our folklore and our culture all over the world.
CHURCH: All right, Gary Tuchman waiting there for Jimmy Sanchez, the 18-year-old, the youngest of these 33 miners who will be just -- it's just minutes in actual fact. And he will come to the surface. And he doesn't like confined spaces. So it will be interesting to see his reaction when he eventually gets to the top there and they open up that capsule and he is at last released after 68 days.
MANN: And you can see, as we look at the live picture, that's his father waiting for him. Everyone has got a loved one or two waiting for him. He has got his father. Extraordinary things.
Well, Chile's President Sebastian Pinera has been at the site since the operation began. He has been breathing -- greeting, rather, each of the miners who has been brought to the surface, encouraging them, praising them.
CHURCH: Yes, he has. We are actually going hear what he has to say. I understand we have that in now. Let's have a quick listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEBASTIAN PINERA, CHILEAN PRESIDENT (through translator): I hope that tonight is going be an explosion of happiness and joy. I know that tonight there are going be tears of happiness in all Chilean homes. And I also know, as I have been able to see with my own eyes, that the whole world is going share this joy of these 33 miners and the 33 million Chileans. We're going have an unforgettable night.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For me it has been a tremendous satisfaction to have been able to form a team with people of different professional backgrounds. Every member of this team has been rigorous in how we have been conducting ourselves. I just wanted to assure to your, Mr. President that we are going to be successful in this rescue operation. We are very well prepared.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Now, the San Jose Copper and Gold Mine is located in northern Chile, near the town of Copiapo, as we have been telling you. And here is a look at the time line of events as they unfolded. A lot of interest in this.
The mine collapsed back on August 5th, you would recall, trapping those 33 miners roughly 700 meters underground. For the next 17 days, they survived by rationing tuna fish and milk. Then on August 22nd, the miners managed to get a note to the surface. You remember that. The whole world does. The first confirmation for families and officials that the men were actually alive.
But the celebration was short lived when word came that it might actually take months to rescue the men. The miners were told that unfortunate news on August 27the, the same day a Plan B to rescue them was revealed. You will remember, a lot them were actually told that it wouldn't be until Christmas that -- let's just go here.
Here is Jimmy Sanchez. He has come to the surface. This is the youngest of the 33 miners. They are about to open that capsule. He does not like confined spaces. Mining was not the profession for him, and he certainly won't be going back to it.
Let's watch them as they open the capsule, the cheering, his father there to greet him. Let's watch.
They are waiting as that door opens, 18-year-old Jimmy Sanchez, the youngest of the 33 miners about to emerge from that capsule. Here he is. His father is waiting for him. Very eager. It has just been incredible watching the emotions of these people. Here comes Jimmy Sanchez. And see a smile there as he is about to emerge.
There he is on solid ground, having stepped out of that capsule that took him 700 meters to the surface from that shelter he had been in for 68 days. Listen to the cheering.
There is a very happy young man. Gary Tuchman is standing by. Gary, this is just extraordinary, as we watched the youngest miner step on solid ground and we heard the cheers. I think especially people feel for this young man, because he is just emerging into adulthood, and he has been down in that mine. And he has struggled with a lot of things he's had to confront down there.
Talk to us about what we know about this young man. Gary, are you there? All right. I can hear the buzz, but we have not got Gary, but we will attempt to get him. Watching these pictures, you can see this young man, Jimmy Sanchez, overcome with emotion as he hugs his loved ones and the rescuers. Let's not forget the rescuers. It's very important in any of these mining situations that those rescuers are told and given some form of closure, because they have worked so hard towards this day, to bring the miners to the surface.
Jimmy Sanchez there, 18 years of age, the youngest of the 33 miners. He will be taken now for a medical check-up to check all of his vitals. Of course, their eyes are the main concern here. That's why they are covered. They want to make sure that they don't experience any eye damage as they come to the surface.
And they all are going be taken to the hospital for a minimum of two days, in fact, so that they can be checked out to ensure that there are no problems. A lot of their organs they want to check that they are in working order. They have been confined in this space for so long, 67 days, that they need to be checked over by doctors to see that everything is in top working order there.
There the family members, his father, Jimmy Sanchez's father very happy, big smiles, of course. His son now back home with him. Extraordinary situation.
All right. So we're watching. The wheel is still now. But that capsule will go back down to collect the next miner. Three miners above ground now; 28 still waiting to be brought to the surface. We'll take a short break, but our coverage continues. Don't go anywhere.
CHURCH: Welcome back to our special coverage of the rescue of 33 miners trapped in Chile. And here is a live picture at the scene that has kept us so literally transfixed at that San Jose Copper Gold Mine near the northern city of Kobiako (ph).
MANN: If you're just watching us for the first time, you'll see on the screen very clearly that five miners have been rescued. And authorities had said in advance that the first five or six would be among the strongest miners, the men who would basically serve as guinea pigs for the process. The experiment, if you want to call it that, has worked brilliantly. The capsule has brought the men up without incident.
But as we just saw Jimmy Sanchez coming to the surface, a young man who had some trouble underground, we are now moving into the second phase of the rescues. We're going to start seeing miners who have had more trouble, whose condition is more fragile, and who may need medical assistance. That was foreseen.
The people who planned this rescues said there were hundreds of eventualities that they thought of. Among them, the possibility that some of the men emerging from the mine would need to be evacuated urgently. And so the one road leading from the mine has been cleared of traffic and blocked off to make it available to rescue workers if they should need it for an evacuation. Helicopters are on the ready, ready to fly even at night to get these men to hospital if need be. The pilots equipped with night vision goggles. Once again, thinking of every eventuality, the rescue team said that cars would not be allowed to use their headlights so that the night vision goggles would be effective and the pilots could fly those helicopters safely if need be. No indication of that.
Five miners are above ground. The rest are still below with several rescue workers helping them. So far, the men appear surprisingly hardy, surprisingly healthy, and in remarkable spirits.
So, as we've mentioned, five of those miners have been carried to the surface. All of this going about a pace about one rescue an hour, with people around the world intently watching their TV screens as that capsule is lowered and then pulled up over and over again.
Let's get a sense of how everyone is reacting to all this. Atika Shubert joins us now from CNN London. People are watching there, too, aren't they?
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. People around the world have been watching this. They are just waking up here in London to the news. And a lot of people will be reading it in the papers as they go into work today. "The Independent" here in London has a big spread in their paper, with a big picture of the mine site there, with the headline, "The Dawn of Hope." The French newspaper also has a picture of the capsule that is being lowered.
A lot of people just waking up to this news now and finding out more about the details of the rescue. We have also had viewer reaction coming in from around the world, sending in their videos. We had one viewer in Sri Lanka, Shari Atukorola (ph), send in her recording of her watching when that first miner was pulled up. It was a very emotional scene for her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is a very emotional moment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHUBERT: We have also had viewers sending in reports from as far away as Mexico and Ecuador. But we also, in particular, had one sent in from Chile, from Bernard Strumer (ph). He says Chileans have been very happy with the way that the situation -- with the way the government has responded to the situation, being able to get these miners out. And he also showed us a lot of video of what's happening in Chile, in particular the pride with which the Chilean nation is viewing these events, the Chilean flag.
He sent us a note saying that there has been an eerie stillness in the past few days, but that the flag has been known as the Loan Star, and that the blue in the flag is supposed to represent the Pacific Ocean, the white the snow covered Andes. And Chileans are very proud of their nation as this rescue continues. So, again, reaction is coming in from around the world. A lot of people glued to their screens watching this real life drama unfold before them, Jonathan.
MANN: Atika Shubert live at CNN London, thanks very much. While Atika was talking, we received word that a helicopter has left the mine site, apparently, we are told, with four of the newly rescued miners aboard. If you were listening earlier, I mentioned that there had been some provision in the plan for a helicopter to evacuate the men out if needed for emergency medical care. No indication that that is underway. But that definitely was a possibility that we were warned about in advance.
What we do know is a helicopter has left the mine site and we believe four of the newly rescued miners, four of the five men who have emerged from the mine were aboard it. Rosemary?
CHURCH: Yes, Jon. And you know, who can forget Mario Sepulveda, particularly the second miner rescued, you would recall. He says his ordeal won't make him change jobs. Let's just listen to that again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARIO SEPULVEDA, RESCUED MINER (through translator): 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: He had a lot of advise to tell especially men across the globe. But I think a little bit of advice for all of us.
And you know, our next guest is an expert on the medical risks associated with mine rescues. Wolfgang Rechberger was in charge of medical operations for a mine collapse in Tasmania. That was four years ago. And he joins us live on the phone from Tasmania, Australia.
Wolfgang, thank you so much for talking with us. Certainly as an Australian myself, I very much remember every step of the way with that rescue. And tell us what are you feeling as you watch this rescue unfold in Chile? Must be an extraordinary experience for you?
WOLFGANG RECHBERGER, TASMANIAN AMBULANCE SERVICE: Yes. it's very extraordinary. It's quite a joyous occasion to see these people come out alive, well, being able to walk away from their capture as well as they are.
CHURCH: How different or how similar has this rescue operation been compared to what you dealt with in Tasmania?
RECHBERGER: The main difference really between the two is the Chilean miners have all been trapped in a big cavern with room to move around. The big issue with miners -- they were trapped in a small space, probably no more than about a cubic meter. And they were really compressed. They couldn't move around. They couldn't stand up.
So we had to try and manage them in that small space. The advantage we had, though, once we got them out of there, we were able to take them to a medical center that we set up underground. So we knew exactly what their condition was when they came up to the surface.
CHURCH: Of course, there was a lot they had to deal with in the 14 days they were underground. What was life like for them after the rescue? How difficult was it for them?
RECHBERGER: They had to readjust. They had to get used to the notoriety that they just gotten now, the public figures that they had become, plus the fact that they had been really confined. And at the time, it was a pretty difficult time for both of them.
CHURCH: And I think, too, it was interesting -- I know that you have made comments in the past about the need for the rescuers in situations like this to get closure, to meet with those miners that they have brought to the surface. Why is that so important, do you think?
RECHBERGER: Well, the rescuers, while they are working, they are on a pretty high adrenaline drive. And they are really pushing themselves to try and achieve the best outcome for the trapped miners. If you just allow it to finish, then it just ends. It is nothing. They just end up with a big void.
What we did for all of our staff that were there is we made sure they were all there in the morning that the miners came out. We made sure they all had an active roll, and could be part of the conclusions. So they were for the whole event, from start to finish, and had some degree of closure.
and then there were all the events that were arranged for all the people involved by the Australian government, by the local authorities, which brought everyone together again. So rather than just let them all wander off, they had the chance to talk about how they felt, how it affected them.
CHURCH: Very important point there, Wolfgang Rechberger. Hopefully, Chile is listening and they follow that. There could be some form of reunion between those 33 miners and, of course, the rescuers who have been there for them right along this whole journey.
AGain, thank you so much for talking with us and sharing your past experiences from 2006. Appreciate it.
MANN: Fascinating stuff. Five of the miners are above ground. Four of them have already been flown from the site, we believe, in a helicopter that has left Camp Hope at Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation continues.
People are talking about it all around the world. Rosemary has been Tweeting. The president of Chile has himself been Tweeting. We will have a look at what's moving in the social media with Kristie Lu Stout from Hong Kong, right after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CHURCH: Welcome back to our extensive live coverage from Copiapo, Chile. A special welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world watching the scene at Camp Hope, where, as you can see, the wench is stationary after bringing five miners up from underground. They are now taking a second look at the capsule, at the machinery, maintaining it and making sure it's ready to go for the -- do the math. I guess it would be 28 miners.
CHURCH: Yes, 28. And it has been interesting the way they have phased this out. Because, as we've been talking, the first five were considered the strongest. The first one, of course, the most strong of the group because he had to be able to deal with any technical problems in that first trip to the surface.
Now we are moving into that phase where there is a group of men who have had a number of problems that they have had to deal with. And then the very last group will be the strongest as well. So it is interesting this second group that we are dealing with.
You know, for the family members of the trapped miners, it also has been a difficult ordeal. They have been waiting anxiously from the very beginning, of course, 68 days ago. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARIA SEVOCIA, SISTER OF MINER: When I arrived at the mine, it was terrible. You could feel the pain here at the mine. And I promise never to leave until the last miner came out. My promise still stands. I will not leave until the last miner is extracted. Only then will I return to Los Agasta (ph).
Then I will say mission accomplished. This is the final stretch. And we are praying to God that everything works well, and that we finally get reunited with our family members.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MANN: I think it's fair to say people around the world are praying. The miners and their ordeal have captured the attention of basically everyone on the planet who is close to a newspaper or at this hour close to a television set. You're looking now at live pictures, once again, as the work continues at Copiapo. But all of this, it just has all of us talking. It has us talking to our neighbors. It has us talking to our friends. It has talking on the Internet.
CNN's Kristie Lu Stout has been watching all of the social network traffic, and joins us now from CNN Hong Kong. Christie Lu, what do you see?
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jon, we're watching social media reaction from around the world. But here in Hong Kong, I am paying special attention to the voices in China, where mine accidents are a regular occurrence. Now the so far successful rescue in Chile is prompting Chinese citizens to voice their anger at China's mine safety record.
Here are a few examples from `Example: Here are a few examples from Sina Weibor, which is China's equivalent of Twitter. Now one person on Sina Weibor, Adi Dinar (ph) writes this, "if this mine accident happens in China, can those trapped miners survive until now?"
Another user on Sina Weibor writes this, "the daily report of Chile rescue reminds me of those anonymous dead miners and 9.6 million square meters land of China. Every report of the Chile rescue is a loud slap in the face."
And one more I'm going to show you. This from Lida Gudza (ph), writes this: "the effort made by the Chilean government so far is very scientific, humane. It is very different from what we often see in China, those show like rescue work , seemingly lively or real, but, in fact, without basic rescue equipment support.
Let's take a broader look at the social media conversation around the story. In fact almost 4 percent of the conversation on social media is about the Chile mine rescue. And you can see more and more are talking about it as the rescues continue.
We've teamed up with a company. It's called Crimson Hexagon that track what's being said about the story on Twitter in the last 24 hours. And you can see the biggest subjects are the rescue timeline and specifically the drilling effort.
But the human side of this story is also part of the conversation where people are discussing the miners' families, their mental state and how they have survived so long underground.
And of course people are tweeting their personal expressions of support for the rescue effort. That's totaling about 18 percent of the conversation.
You're welcome to send me your thoughts about the ongoing rescue that you're watching here on CNN via twitter. I'm at KLuStout. You call also find me on Facebook. But for live updates online, be sure to follow the entire team. Our twitter list of CNN Chile sources in both English and Spanish, you can find it right hire at CNNi/Chile-mine.
And I'll be back in roughly an hour from now. So let's send it back to Rosemary and Jon at CNN center. Jon.
JONATHAN MANN, CNN ANCHOR: Kristie Lu Stout, thanks very much.
If you're watching along with us, you can see they have been working on the Phoenix capsule that's been bringing the miners up. It's been stationary. It's been on the ground. The journey up and down has been on hold for the time being as they lubricate and maintain the wheels.
We will try and find out more. We'll be back with our extensive coverage right after this.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Back to our continuing coverage of the mine rescue in Chile. I'm Rosemary Church.
MANN: I'm Jonathan Mann. You're looking at live pictures of the scene at Copiapo, Chile, Camp Hope, where -- call it miraculous, call it astonishing, but an amazing ordeal is coming to an end with the rescue, the successful rescue now of five of the 33 miners who've been trapped underground for 68 into 69 days.
Let's bring you up to date on the latest developments. As I mentioned, five miners have now been pulled to the surface over the past roughly four and a half hours. Weeks of drilling have made it a short trip for the men trapped since early August.
It is essentially just a 15-minute ride to fresh air. The five who've made that trip so far have been greeted by hugs and cheers from family, friends, even the Chilean president.
Extraordinary thing is that the miners appear in such good spirits but each of them is being whisked from the limelight to undergo medical checks. And the round-the-clock operation is going. Right now the specially made rescue capsule is taking something of a pit stop. You can see the winch above the rescue frame is stopped while the capsule itself is being prepared, being maintained so that it can go pick up miner number six.
CHURCH: Yes. That's critical. I want to go straight now to that scene in northern Chile. And joining us live from the San Jose Copper Gold mine near Copiapo is CNN's Gary Tuchman.
Gary, of course, this has come to a sudden standstill now. They seem to be paying a lot of attention to one of those wheels that have caused as part of the tracking effort as it goes down that shaft. What is going on? Do you know?
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, pit stop is a good analogy, Jon. I will call it a tune-up. And we expected this after repeated trips up and down the shaft. They're going to clean the wheels, make sure everything is going fine. There's no rush whatsoever.
These men have done pretty well after 68 days. They just want to make sure that this Phoenix capsule is in good shape. So far it's done the job. Five miners have come up. There are still 28 left. Number six, the next person will be coming up, is a 30-year-old man by the name of Osman Araya.
Osman Araya has worked in the mines for four months before this happened. He has four children and a wife who will be very eager to see him once he comes above the ground. And what they do after the miners coming on the ground they see their loved ones who were at the site, then they go up for some quick emergency treatment if they need emergency treatment and a temporary triage center that's been set right near the site.
And then they go in an ambulance right to a reunion center. Another building nearby and that's where they get the chance, an extended chance to talk to their families.
At that point when they're done talking to their families, they're given a couple of hours to do that, they are mandated to take a helicopter ride. And just a short time ago, we saw one of those helicopters fly over us.
What they're doing when these helicopters fly over is to turn off all the lights in the area that we're standing perched above the rescue site. A safety measure for the helicopter pilots and they're flying the miners to a hospital about a half an hour away from here.
They're going there for treatment. And then after (INAUDIBLE) very long it's mandated that they get some treatment because of a lot of issues they have to look at because this has not happened before.
There have never been in the history of civilization people have survived being this long underground, 68 days in these miners' cases. Either way, very happy so far the way things are going for families and friends of these miners.
Jonathan, Rosemary, back to you.
CHURCH: All right. Gary Tuchman there at the mine. We do apologize because clearly we are having some audio issues there. We're going to attempt to correct those so that things are a little easier to hear when we go back to Gary.
But you certainly get the idea there that that wheel, they're making sure that it's running smoothly. Clearly five men aboveground, they want to make sure this runs -- the rest of this runs as smoothly as it has already.
So they're just taking a little timeout to make sure that that wheel runs smoothly and the whole tracking system is set in line for a sixth miner to come to the surface -- Jon.
MANN: It is an enormous and complicated technical operation. And early on in the effort, Chile actually consulted with NASA, the U.S. space agency, which trains astronauts to be in confined spaces for extended periods of time.
Our Hala Gorani spoke with two members of that team, NASA's chief of space medicine, Dr. J.D. Polk, and NASA psychologist, Dr. Albert Holland.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALBERT HOLLAND, NASA PSYCHOLOGIST: It must have been pretty traumatic for them because suddenly it was thrust upon them that they're trapped in there and for 17 days they tried to extract themselves tried to signal the rescuers and of course finally were found. But they really did an excellent job organizing themselves and keeping their spirits up.
HALA GORANI, CNN ANCHOR: And from a health perspective, Dr. Polk, what should doctors be looking out for immediately after the men are pulled out?
J.D. POLK, CHIEF OF SPACE MEDICINE, NASA: Well, certainly one of the things they're going to guard against, depending on the time of day, is UVA and UVB sunlight exposure because they've been in essentially darkness with some light for about the last two months.
So if you can imagine yourselves when we come out of a theater and we're squinting after two hours in the theater. This movie has been about two months long for them. So we want to avoid the eye pain from cornial spasm. And that's one of the first things they'll guard against. And then they'll take them to a triage tent to evaluate them and what we call a primary survey. Making sure their airway, their breathing, their circulation are all in tact and that they're stable.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Yes, that is critical. All right. We do want to take a look now at the numbers behind the story now. And in all, 33 miners were trapped in that mine. Of course you know that.
Rescuers were expecting the worst until a probe drill found the trapped men 17 days after their cave-in. Now all together they have been trapped underground for 68 days and they each have to be hoisted up through that escape shaft that's about 622 meters long. We've just been saying 700 meters.
And it will take each miner about 15 minutes or so to get to the surface in that capsule. About 55 centimeters in diameter or 21 inches if you think in terms of inches. A very small confined space. Let's put it that way. Basically they're in this confined space.
And the youngest miner is 18-year-old Jimmy Sanchez. We saw him just recently. He was the last one to come to the service. Mario Gomez, the oldest, is 63. And for Bolivian miner, Carlos Mamani, it was his fifth day on the job when that mine collapsed.
Bolivian President Evo Morales has promised him a job if he returns home. And he has said he doesn't want to go back to the mines. So that may very well be an option for him.
Now all this has been unfolding before about 1500 journalists from 39 nations. So keeping an eye on all of that -- Jon.
MANN: Fifteen hundred journalists and a lot of cameras. I believe we have live pictures in fact of the hospital site at Copiapo, Chile, where the miners are expected to be ferried. In fact, first reports suggested that four miners had left Camp Hope.
The community immediately surrounding the mine for better medical care at this hospital. The last report we had said that two of the miners were believed to be aboard that helicopter. And once again this has been one of the possibilities that was foreseen by the rescue team in the enormous planning that went into this operation.
They knew from the outset that some of the men would need beyond the cursory initial examination that they're receiving immediately on the surface. More sophisticated medical care, that was to be available at a hospital where they were to be flown in the event it was needed. The word we have is in fact two of the men are being flown to that hospital.
We're looking at live pictures as we wait to see them arrive.
The helicopters were at the ready. The weather was good for flying. Of course nighttime is not the time of choice for helicopter pilots. But the pilots were equipped with night vision goggles.
Traffic along the route was dramatically cut back. The roads were blocked so that the night vision goggles wouldn't find ambient light from headlights interrupting the pilots' ability to see and fly.
Authorities basically did everything they could in the expectation that some of these men would need medical care right away. The indication we have is that in fact two of the men are being choppered to the nearby hospital.
We'll have more details on this as soon as we get them.
Let's pause briefly, though, to bring you up to speed on some of the other headlines that we are watching around the world at this hour.
In Hungary, crews are working as fast as they can to build temporary dams to hold back 500,000 cubic meters of poisonous sludge. Major cracks have formed in the retaining loss standing between local villages and the toxic mess. Last week a flood from the same reservoir killed eight people.
In Lebanon, Iran's president is scheduled to visit on Wednesday. In fact I believe he's arrived. We have some pictures there. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is expected to stop in the southern part of the country which could mean the Iranian leader will tour the Israeli border.
Mr. Ahmadinejad will also meet with Lebanese leaders during his trip. Hezbollah, of course, a very close ally of the Tehran government.
In Washington, the Obama administration is giving the green light to deepwater oil drilling once again. Oil rig operations were ordered to stop following the BP oil spill last April. Only oil well rig operators following newer tougher regulations will be allowed, though, to resume their drilling.
In England the judge is expected to rule today on the controversial sale of the Liverpool football club. The current American owners are trying to block Liverpool's chairman from selling the embattled team to another American owner. A Singapore-based billionaire, he is also offering to pay $570 million in cash for the club. Rosemary?
CHURCH: All right, Jon, let's get back to the latest in the Chilean mine rescue. And so far a total of five miners have now been pulled safely from the mine. And this video of the third man coming out, medical personnel have been lowered down to the men to help decide who is going up next. And it is taking almost an hour to pull each man to the surface. And that of course includes getting them ready to get up there. And after being pulled out the miners will be evaluated at the site before being taken to a hospital in nearby Copiapo.
And as we've heard two of them have actually been choppered out to a hospital now.
CHURCH: Special coverage of the mine rescue underway in Chile. And we're looking here -- we understand there we have the second miner who was pulled out, Mario Sepulveda. We're getting word that he was actually in an ambulance here, is our understanding, Jon.
MANN: That's right. We are looking at what I believe are live pictures from a hospital scene where two of the miners have been taken. Obviously Sepulveda is one of them. As we've been mentioning there were always plans that if need be the miners would be taken for more extensive medical care than could be provided at the site of the mine.
That apparently has happened even as we are watching. And as you can see on the left of your screen, the work has finally stopped on the capsule, the Phoenix capsule, which apparently needed some maintenance work, some lubrication.
It is now preparing to descend once again to pick up what will be miner number six. And so the rescue operation continues through the night into the morning in Copiapo, Chile. Five men are up. A sixth is now waiting his turn.
Well, let's have a look while they are looking at it at the rescue capsule itself. There are three of them in total. Only one, though, is designated as the primary rescue vehicle. All of them were designed by Chilean Navy engineers and by the U.S. space agency NASA to use to rescue the miners.
Inside the capsules have an oxygen supply, wireless communications equipment, and crucially today we're noticing retractable wheels to help them travel up and down the rescue shaft. It's the wheels that were getting so much attention a short time ago. The uninterrupted trips up and down were paused for what seemed like long minutes as they maintained one of the wheels in particular that seemed to be giving them trouble.
Now more importantly, maybe in the event that something goes wrong, there's also an escape hatch in case there is a problem. There is no indication that that has been needed. Instead they've winched them up and down without any apparent problem.
But they're not like the capsules. We have 420 kilos. They're not big either. The interior height is 1.9 meters, the diameter is about 55 centimeters. And we created a facsimile of it. I stood in it and basically it's pretty tight if you're a regularly built person. It must be the way obese people feel getting into a phone booth. It was pretty tight. But it has been an entirely successful operation so far. And we're waiting now for the sixth of the 33 miners to be brought up.
What are conditions like for the trapped miners and for the miners above ground? Our Jennifer Delgado is at the international weather center with more on that because the weather really does change as they come up from below.
JENNIFER DELGADO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Absolutely. You know, the temperatures down below are still running 30 to 33 degrees, and we've been dealing with that really over the last several weeks. We haven't seen any change across that region.
Now I want to point to you, of course, we're dealing with an area that's 620 meters below surface. And the pressure down there, running about 15 percent higher than sea level. But once you start to climb and you get this capsule rising above ground, you're going see the pressure dropping as well as the temperatures dropping.
Now the capsules are moving roughly at about three kilometers. And that's roughly right around the speed of a standard elevator. Say an elevator in a building roughly about 10 stories.
Now with the capsule, it weighs about 450 kilograms. Now if you remember earlier, we've been talking about how the capsule has been going down much quicker. Well, it looks like, when they're sending those down there is actually a body in there so that adds roughly about another 100 kilograms so that's actually increasing it and pushing it down faster. Now when it goes down empty it moves at a pace about 20 to 25 minutes.
Now as we go further above the surface, when the miners get up there, they're going to see a difference in the pressure. Roughly right around 25 percent. This is actually 10 percent lower than what you see at sea level.
Temperatures running 8 to 13 degrees. A lot cooler. That's why you're seeing the steam in the live video coming out of it, the steam coming up. That's actually condensation. And especially when we're dealing with elevation, 850 millimeters, I should say meters, you're going to see a vast difference in temperatures from below ground.
Also want to point out to you, with the difference in the pressure that's roughly, well, to a plane taking off, you know, like when you're on a plane, you start to see and feel your ears popping, so that's the -- actually the conditions. Just to kind to relate and give you an idea on what the miners are enduring as they make that progression above ground.
Now as I said, as they are descending they're using the force of the gravity. But that's taking roughly about 20 to 30 minutes when we're looking at the capsule being empty. And of course, it goes with it faster when you get more weight in there.
As you ascend, you're giving the force of that winch and that winch is actually pulling it up much faster. And we're seeing that pace running about 10 to 15 minutes.
Now of course we also want to update you on the weather across that region. The weather is actually really nice. Temperature of 10 degrees, wind chill is 9, and the winds at 9 kilometers, I pointed out to you because visibility is at 10 kilometers. And that's important for the planes that are actually flying from the San Jose mine site and then over to the hospital at Copiapo.
And that means the conditions are going be pretty good as we go through the evening. Doesn't look like we have to worry about fog right now especially that wind at 9 kilometers. Looks like the weather is going be nice for the next three days. Rosemary.
CHURCH: Perfect weather.
DELGADO: Perfect weather.
CHURCH: For a rescue, right?
DELGADO: We need that.
CHURCH: OK. Fantastic. Thanks so much. Appreciate that, Jen.
And you know, as the drama surrounding the discovery and eventually rescue of the Chilean miners unfolded, we wanted to share some of the countless images taken during their ordeal.
And many of them capturing the moods of everyone involved as the world waited for those miners to safely return. Now in a show of solidarity, banners like this one telling the men to have strength as they await their rescue and then here flags planted for each of the miners rippling there in the breeze.
As the ordeal went on, of course, reporters from all over the world converge on Copiapo, as we've been telling you, waiting to report on developments large and small to audiences. In 39 countries across the globe.
And from the mouths of babes, a school was set up for the children of those trapped miners so they could actually attend classes close to their fathers. And here their artwork depicts the views of -- well, this is a little -- the view of one child at least. So you really get an idea on what was going through that child's mind as he waited for his father to be brought to the surface.
Now this young man holds a flag reading, we wait for you, Esteban. Your family. A sentiment shared by the family members waiting anxiously at that mine. Look at the face of that young boy.
And finally a distraction to help pass the time. A clown stops by to help entertain those children waiting for their fathers. And help them forget, if at least for a moment, why they're actually at the mine in the first place.
Jon, some incredible pictures there.
MANN: And more incredible pictures to share with you. Let's look once again at the rescue capsule.
Five men have been brought up from underground in roughly five hours since the operation began. This is something we haven't seen before. The rescue capsule has not been rushed back into service.
It has been studies, it has been lubricated, it has been maintained but as you can see the winch that draws it up and down is not moving. The capsule is sitting aboveground. We're not sure why. Our extensive coverage will continue right after this.
MANN: Welcome back to CNN's special coverage of the Chile mine rescue. You're looking at live pictures.
Well, as we watched the rescue efforts still underway, stalled for the time being, the passage of time on our minds. And as the wait for all of this to happen turned from days into months, routines helped keep the trapped miners sane. Work shifts, smoking breaks, game time, all part of their daily lives 700 meters beneath the ground.
Karl Penhaul has a look now at a day inside the mine.
KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (VOICE-OVER): A new dawn breaks. Thirty-three miners face another day trapped half a mile deep. Rescue workers say the men never lost their notion of time.
MIGUEL FORTT, RESCUE COORDINATOR (Through translator): The miners have cell phones so they had a calendar. They knew perfectly what day it was and what time it was. The only thing they didn't know was what the weather was like.
PENHAUL: It's 8:00 a.m. on the surface. Our underground day shift is starting. They're working to help rescue themselves. There are three shifts, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m. to midnight. And midnight until 8:00.
FORTT (Through translator): They have eight hours of rest. Another eight-hour work shift and eight hours to play games, read, write letters, jog or have a walk, because they have access to about 2.5 kilometers of tunnels.
PENHAUL: Time is marked by meals sent down in metal tubes rescuers call carrier pigeons.
Nurse Mabel Rios is supervising.
MABEL RIOS, NURSE (Through translator): About 7:45, we send them breakfast. At 10:00 a.m. a milk shake. At 12:00, we send them lunch. At 4:00 p.m., another milk shake and around 7:00 p.m. we send them their dinner. PENHAUL: First job of the day, check air quality. By midday, paramedic Johnny Barrios has checked all the miners' vital signs and send the data to doctors above.
FORTT (Through translator): They have to do blood and urine tests and check if there's any skin infections.
PENHAUL: Around the clock, miners help the rescue effort. Clearing debris from the drills now boring an escape shaft.
At 4:00 p.m., day shift ends. Miners play games. Listen to music. And work out on the orders of a personal trainer far above.
FORTT (Through translator): Usually the truck operators are quite fat because they are sitting down all day. They have a personal trainer to help them cut down their waistline so they can fit in the rescue capsule.
PENHAUL: Work or rest, the miners spend their day wandering up and down between the workshop, refuge or camp. For the 14 smokers, it's a long hike to light up. Each has a ration of 11 cigarettes a day.
RIOS (Through translator): There are people who don't smoke and they don't like to have people smoking close by so the smoking sector is well separated.
PENHAUL: On the surface families spend hours pouring out new feelings to their loved ones.
Day fades to black. And sometime after midnight miners finally have time to pen their heartfelt replies.
FORTT (Through translator): Each one of them has had a lot of time to think about what to do with the rest of their lives.
PENHAUL: But until the day one of the drills finally rescues them, those 33 lives must stay on hold.
Karl Penhaul, CNN, at the San Jose mine in northern Chile.
MANN: Well, those lives aren't on hold any more but you can retrace all the developments in the story with our interactive timeline from the August 5th mine collapse that trapped the miners and the videos they made underground, to details about the operations underway right now rescuing the men.
All that and much more at CNN.com/miners.
CHURCH: And Monita Rajpal and Zain Verjee will pick up from here. Our live coverage. We say goodbye but don't go anywhere because we will continue to cover this story out of Chile.
MANN: I'm Jonathan Mann.
CHURCH: And I'm Rosemary Church.