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CNN Larry King Live

Chile Mine Rescue Under Way

Aired October 12, 2010 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks, Anderson. A program note. We will be back in three hours midnight Eastern, 9:00 Pacific for a special edition live of LARRY KING LIVE. We'll keep you up to date on the rescue drama in Chile as it unfolds.

You're looking at a live picture from the scene. The rescue pod is in the San Jose mine. Another step toward getting 33 men out of the ground. They've been trapped half a mile below the earth's surface for 68, now going on 69 days.

CNN's Karl Penhaul is outside of the mine. He'll join us with the latest.

What is the latest? I thought they were coming up sooner, Karl?

KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What they are doing now, Larry, is making sure that that Phoenix rescue capsule is operating exactly as they intend it to operate.

We've seen them since more or less sunset. We've seen the technicians operating on that capsule, fixing cables, fixing cords, making sure that the oxygen supply is working. They are also making sure that the fiber optic cable that takes a video and audio signal from the capsule up to the surface is working as well.

In fact, the cage of that rescue capsule has a wide angle camera put into it, that to feed information back to the rescuers as to how each miner is reacting as he heads back up to the surface.

They are fine-tuning the cables. That again is why they've dropped the Phoenix capsule into the rescue shaft possibly halfway down, I would guess, judging on the amount of time that it was down there and then pulling it back up, making sure that the cable on the winch and pulley system is tensioning properly, making sure that that inch-thick cable is not twisting because if that twists then it would also cause the rescue capsule to twist as well.

So it's a process of fine-tuning. It could still be an hour, an hour and a half before we see the first rescue worker goes down. They still have to drop the rescue capsule down into the shaft with a weight on board to make sure that it can carry the weight of a human.

And once all those checks and balances have done, they will put a rescue on board, send him down. And at that point we can say this rescue mission is on. Larry? KING: Karl, why were they so optimistic earlier on? Or was the media optimistic because, six, seven hours ago they said that it was going to start in an hour.

PENHAUL: It depends when you look at the start of this. I would guess that now we can see that Phoenix capsule so close to the rescue shaft, I guess many would say the operation, the rescue operation really is beginning.

That has said to generate a lot of excitement here at Camp Hope, which is where a lot of the families have been camping out since that mine caved in on August 5th. And possibly to the rescue technicians themselves may have brought forth the timeline a little too quick maybe thinking that they could get the cables and the fiber optics hooked up a little bit quicker.

But we are assured that there are no last-minute hitches. There really are no technical difficulties here. This has been meticulously planned.

And when you really look at the timeline that the rescue experts set out or when they realized that these miners were alive when working that the miners had survived the cave-in on August 27th, at that point, the government was saying these miners may not be home much before Christmas.

And so a few hours more, even a few hours more, to --

KING: Yes.

PENHAUL: -- with the cables, to fine tune the communication systems is a little compared to the original timeline the government has set, Larry.

KING: Karl, what is their biggest concern? What are they -- if I could use the word worry. What are they most worried about?

PENHAUL: The medics and the psychologists most worry about the physical and mental conditions of the miners as they come up that rescue shaft. The Phoenix capsule itself is 21.5 inches in diameter. So a broad-shouldered miner is going to get in there but only with a bit of a squeeze.

Some of the burliest guys are going to have to come out in this rescue position and they don't want the miners to feel too constrained. They don't want them to feel too claustrophobic. Hence that audio and video hookup so they can talk to the people up on the surface so that they don't feel alone.

This is the first time they are literally going to be on their own, fending for themselves since the mine caved in on August the 5th. They don't want the miners to get nauseous. So that is why they are taking great pains to make sure that that Phoenix capsule doesn't spin and gyrate on its way up the rescue shaft.

That is why it's got the rubber wheels. That's why it's got special anti-twist cable and also so the miners don't get nauseous. For the last six hours now, they've had only a liquid diet that has been supplied by the space agency NASA. Vitamins and proteins to make sure that they literally don't throw up on the way up.

Also as well, the thing that the miners don't get dizzy (INAUDIBLE) don't faint. That's why they have an oxygen mass with about 30 to 40 percent oxygen in there to keep those miners going on. And they don't want any panic attacks either, Larry.

KING: How long will it take to come up?

PENHAUL: Once the miner climbs into the Phoenix rescue capsule, the ride up to the surface will take between 10 and 15 minutes. But that's not where the story ends because of course rescue workers have to lower the capsule back down.

The capsule will be coming back down under some gravity. That will take about 30 minutes to get down. The rescue workers also estimate it will take 10 or 15 minutes to get each miner settled into the rescue capsule to make sure he fully understands the escape system, the communication system, and also the survival systems, such as the oxygen.

Do the math on that, add it all together per miner, we're talking about one hour from flash to bang. And so that means multiplied by 33, a 33-hour rescue operation if it goes without hitches, and then to get the five rescue workers back to the surface, we're talking 38 hours.

The mines minister said it could take up to 48 hours. Once the first miner comes up, we could still be talking two days until all his colleagues are back to the surface and back with their loved ones, Larry.

KING: Karl Penhaul, doing an outstanding job.

Let's go now to Patrick Oppmann, he is a CNN all platform journalist. He's been with some of the families of the trapped miners. As you can imagine, they are overjoyed by what's happening.

Now are they a bit anxious, Patrick?

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN ALL PLATFORM JOURNALIST: There is hope, there is anxiety in the air tonight, Larry. I am in the town square where many of these miners are from. And, you know, it's just an amazing evening.

We've seen hundreds of people who were up into this town square, filled these dark town streets. And now it's only -- it's standing room only in this town square.

Let's take a quick pan around, ask my cameraman Todd Baxter (ph) to pan around. And you see people with Chilean flags and you know during the moments that we get updates on the status of this rescue, it becomes entirely silent in this packed town square. People just stopped their chanting, stopped the songs and pay an intense attention right now to what's being said. They are capturing up every detail, Larry. They've been waiting for months for their miners to be returned to them. That may happen very soon.

I'm only about a half a mile from the hospital where the miners will be taken. They'll be flown by military helicopters, Larry, about four at a time to this hospital. And as you can imagine, they will be getting every checkup imaginable. But until that happens, these people will stand here in a dark, cold, desert night, waiting for the first sign of their miners to be returned to them, Larry.

KING: Are they aware, Patrick, that this whole operation could take up to 48 hours?

OPPMANN: Yes, they are aware of that, Larry. And time and time again when I ask them, if you have to go home, you'll get tired, what will you do? These people said, we will stay. If they can endure, we can endure it. They're in for the long haul, Larry. They'll be staying throughout the night, into the morning until all 33 are above ground.

OPPMANN: Patrick Oppmann, our CNN all platform journalist right at the site in Chile. We're staying with this incredible story.

Scientists from NASA -- NASA rather who are helping the Chilean government are here next. Don't go away.


KING: It's 12 minutes after 10:00 in Chile on this Tuesday night. And CNN's Gary Tuchman is at the mine for what might be a historic-making rescue.

Gary, are the Chileans responding to all of this attention? Is there some concern that, you know, these are everyday folk being hit with all this international people looking at them?

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think that's what's unique about the situation, Larry. I mean this isn't only unprecedented and historical in the mining industry. This has never happened in civilization, that so many people have been trapped so far below ground for so long. Never 68 days.

This hasn't happened. So what will happen to these gentlemen psychologically -- not only physically, but psychologically when they come up, we're not sure we know the answers to that just yet. But they have been prepared. They have been talking to people above ground for weeks now. So we're hoping for the best when they get here.

KING: Wouldn't it take some time before they do any media?

TUCHMAN: Well, that's one of the interesting things. We're standing right over looking the area where they're going to be coming up. To my right is Camp Esperanza, which translates to Camp Hope, and that where the families have been living here for weeks.

And we've talked to their family members. They are great people and they've been very happy people for the past few weeks because they're very optimistic that this is going to end well. We certainly hope and expect it will.

But one thing they're very blunt about, some of the families, that they said we fully expect that our men have suffered that they'll get paid for their interview and we've explained why we at CNN, we won't pay for interviews. So we're the ones who don't expect payment but there are some family members who were saying that they're hoping their loved ones make some money from this opportunity.

KING: Frankly, and a personal opinion, they would deserve some.

Gary Tuchman, our CNN correspondent at the mine.

Now let's go to Texas. Dr. Albert Holland is senior operations psychologist with the NASA Behavioral Health and Performance Group. And Dr. JD Polk is the chief of Space Medicine at Johnson Space Center.

He and Dr. Holland are members of the NASA team of experts who went to Chile to assist the trapped miners. They join us from the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

Dr. Holland, what has NASA been providing for this situation?

ALBERT HOLLAND, SR. OPERATIONAL PSYCHOLOGIST, NASA: Basically, Larry, when we went down there from a psychological point of view, and I'm a psychologist, we first of all wanted to focus on the adjustment of the attitudes from short-term expectations of coming up out of the mine to a more longer term view of adjusting to the confinement and the families adjusting to the long-term separation as well.

We also wanted them to understand about circadian rhythms and importance of regularity to their daily life, their daily schedule. We wanted them to understand about repatriation and what reunion might be like when they come home.

And I think the Chilean Health authorities have done an excellent job, including the psychological team there of preparing the individual miners and their families.

KING: All right, Dr. Polk, you're a medical doctor. Do -- will these -- will these men face anything similar to what astronauts face when they come back from space?

DR. J.D. POLK, CHIEF OF SPACE MEDICINE, NASA: Larry, we've been asked that a lot. And we have some preconceived notions as to what would translate from space flight to a Chilean mine when we went down there.

What's very interesting is that the more we uncovered and the more we made recommendations and learned about what the miners were going through, actually the more things that were actually translatable from space flight to the mines, actually helped explain and helped authorities.

That ranged from special diets and reheating for the miners after they were starving all the way to the liquid diet that we're using right now, which is actually a liquid fluid load for -- with salt tabs and different electrolyte solutions to help increase the blood pressure and keep the blood pressure up for the miners as they ascend in the escape module.

And also the psychological aspects that Dr. Holland mentioned. There are multiple different things that came from space flight. The fluid load coming from our shuttle program and the (INAUDIBLE) program are very similar to the same type of fluid load that we use for the astronauts coming home.

KING: Dr. Holland, you accompanied the Chilean psychologist who spoke to the miners by telephone and video. What impress you about that? What was that like?

HOLLAND: What impressed me about that, Larry, was two things. One was the competency of the top side personnel. The help people, the rescuers and their commitment to what they were doing. They were in there full court press. They were there for the long haul.

And I think the second thing that surprised me and impressed me was the esprit de corps among the miners and their commitment, their connection with the top side personnel. And I think we've mentioned it before in other locations.

But there was quite a bond between the two groups and at one point the miners began doing the Chile chant, the chi-chi-chi, lay- lay-lay chant. And the topside personnel picked that up and chanted it back to them. And then people outside of the communications building picked up the chant and it was quite impressive show of bonding.

KING: Dr. Polk, what would you say is the biggest medical concern?

POLK: Well, actually there are multiple, Larry. I know that certainly myself and my Chilean medical colleagues are not going to breathe deeply until all 33 people all safely out from the mine.

It ranges from engineering failures to rock collapse or instability of the shaft, to what we call hypotension or low blood pressure in the miners as they ascend. Just like folks who lock their knees when they're standing up straight at attention.

There are a myriad of different things that the fortunately that Chileans have practiced for, that the Chileans have looked for as far as contingencies, and I think they're well prepared and they've done a lot to help these folks up to the surface safely.

KING: Thanks, guys. We'll be calling on you again.

We're going to have a close-up look at the capsule everyone is talking about. See how small it really is. Don't go away. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back on this special edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Reminding you we'll be back again at midnight Eastern, 9:00 Pacific, continuing live.

Chad Myers is a meteorologist, CNN weather anchor. He joins us from Atlanta where a replica of the capsule that will be used to rescue the miners.

OK, Chad, tell us about it.

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, it's 6 1/2 feet high, a little bit less than that, 21 1/2 inches inside. The capsule itself is here. We've made the mock-up of it with plexiglass.

Now it would and it will be kind of a cage -- and so you won't be able to see through it. And especially when it's dark outside. And especially when you're in this 28-inch hole that goes all the way to the ceiling.

As it separates, you'll see there's a big white part on top of this. That's the escape part of this. It will detach right here and go back down the hole if this part becomes jammed in the tube itself, in the tunnel.

So you can actually escape and go all the way back down as the wiring and the winding here will take you back down.

Now I'm going to get into this thing because that's why they built it. It's 21 inches across. And you can get in it. It's not big. Now what our Michael Holmes -- I know you know Michael Holmes. He didn't get in it today. He could not fit in here.

If I really needed to squeeze in, Larry, there's probably two or three more inches that I could get in here. Now there were -- in erroneous reports, that men would have to have their clavicles broken to fold themselves in it. Just don't think that's going to happen.

They have measured everybody. They know that everybody can get in that thing. As long as that goes up and down 38 times -- because you have 33 miners plus five more rescuers. As long as that goes up and down 38 times, they are all going to get out. -- Larry.

KING: Chad, thank you. Excellent journalism.

Let's go to Pasadena and Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Gupta is CNN's chief medical correspondent to talk in some detail about the physical and psychological effects that the miners might face. We just talked to the folks in Houston.

What will be the first thing you'll look for, Sanjay, when they come up?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, the thing about medical triage, Larry, is that there's a consistent nature to it. So you have some anticipation of what might be affecting these miners but you want to make sure you've covered the basics first, Larry.

You know this, we talk about this a lot. But someone's airway, making sure their lungs are inflating and deflating properly. Make sure they're breathing obviously, normally, and their circulation, that their heart is working well.

That's the basics. That's what they're going to check. You're going to see paramedics, doctors, nurses probably right there on the scene examining patients just for that. Putting stethoscopes to their chest and trying to figure these things out.

That's sort of the basic stuff. There also a certain amount of IV fluids that probably will need to be given. You have to assume that with 90-degree temperature, lots of humidity, that some dehydration has occurred.

You know, they've talked a lot about the fact that they want to make sure that the heart is pumping well, during the rescue itself. So wearing compression garments, giving salt tables. But you don't want to give too much fluid, Larry, down in the mine because that can actually impede someone's ability to breathe.

They're going to have to sort of check all of that and probably as soon as these miners hit the surface of the earth, Larry.

KING: What about skin problems?

GUPTA: Yes. You know, that's interesting. And what may seem like relatively minor issues can actually be much more complicated. Imagine being in that mine for as long as they have, 68 days, that humidity, it can cause certain types of fungal infections of the skin which can be quite difficult to treat.

It can become more problematic if not treated, you know, pretty quickly after they get to the surface of the earth. So -- and also, Larry, you know they haven't been exposed to the germs and viruses that you and I have been exposed to over the last couple of months.

The problem is, now if they suddenly get exposed to all these germs and viruses all at once, that could be a problem. So they may need to get some vaccines, some inoculations pretty quickly as well.

They haven't seen sunlight. So vitamin D levels can be low. That can cause brittle bones or might the bones even be more likely to break, for example.

Again, this may seem like minor things, but Larry, my guess is over the next couple of hours, and you've asked about this several times, you're not going to see people rushing because they are really thinking about all these sorts of various steps and these various potential problems and trying to address them.

So what's unfolding has never happened before and that's why I think it's sort of moving along, maybe seemingly slow but very importantly.

KING: Thanks, Sanjay.

A gentleman used to working in confined spaces is Jesse Ventura. He'll be with us in a little while as we continue our coverage from Chile right after the break.


KING: We're back with our breaking news coverage of the mine rescue now underway in Chile.

Joining us are some guests all too familiar with mine disasters and rescues.

Bill Arnold is the director of the Quecreek Mine Rescue Foundation. Tom Foy, a survivor of the 2002 Quecreek mine accident. Harry "Blaine" Mayhugh, a survivor of that accident, and Leslie Mayhugh, his wife.

They are all in Somerset, Pennsylvania.

Bill, what's your reaction to what's going on in Chile?

BILL ARNOLD, DIR., QUECREEK MINE RESCUE FOUNDATION: Well, Larry, I can tell you the rescuers, what they're going through right now is a very nervous anticipating. They've had a very long rescue up to this point and I know that they are very excited about it coming to a thrilling conclusion.

But they are also very focused and very determined to make sure that all 33 of those men get back safely to their families.

KING: Tom, you went through a steel capsule. What was that like?

TOM FOY, SURVIVOR, 2002 QUECREEK MINE ACCIDENT: Well, all I can tell you is it's one of the best days of my life. I mean the worst part I can say was coming up through when we had all the water and everything running down on us.

And they wanted to try to talk to us as we was coming up to tell them how we were. But the main thing was water problems just pouring on top of us and they just -- I said well, we'll talk to you when we get out. Not before.

KING: Blaine, how long did it take to come up?

H. MAYHUGH: I guess it roughly took 10 to 15 minutes to come up through the hole.

KING: So they are going to have the same thing in Chile?

H. MAYHUGH: A little longer trip, though.

KING: Yeah. FOY: It's about ten times difference in distance. So they will have a lot longer journey.

H. MAYHUGH: They initially told us that it would take us roughly about an hour to get each guy up. And I think it ended up taking 10 to 15 minutes per guy.

KING: Leslie, these guys were trapped for four days. What was it like for you?

L. MAYHUGH: Four days seemed like four weeks. So I'm sure that 68 days seems like a couple years to these people. Four days seemed like a long time, seemed like never ending.

KING: What's the biggest problem that they are going to have psychologically?

ARNOLD: Well, I don't know. The miners are a very tough breed, as these guys can testify. And I don't know what range of problems they may have psychologically. I think during the actual physical rescue, it's going to be probably the most dangerous time -- the most dangerous point during this rescue, when they are traveling from so deep in the Earth to the surface. That's certainly going to be the most physically challenging and dangerous time during the rescue.

KING: Tom, have you gone back to the mines?

FOY: No, I didn't, sir.

KING: Blaine, have you gone back?

H. MAYHUGH: No, that was my last day when I got rescued.

KING: Leslie, I would gather you would agree with their decision?

L. MAYHUGH: Yes, I would. I'm very happy they did not go back.

KING: Tom, why do they do this kind of work?

FOY: Why do they do this kind of work? It's just like any other job. It's a job that has to be done. I mean, around Pennsylvania and around the United States, coal is one of your biggest things for power plants and stuff like that. Without them, it would be a little rough. We're coming up with new things like sun. They're working with windmills and stuff now, which is going to help. But there is always going to be coal mines, gold mines. Wherever there is money to be made, there's going to be coal.

KING: I salute you all. Thanks, guys. Now let's check in with Jesse Ventura, former Navy SEAL, former governor of Minnesota, best selling author. He hosts "Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura," going into its second season. Its premier, by the way, this Friday night, October 15th, on Tru TV. You're a former Navy SEAL. You know what it's like about confined situations. What do you make of this? JESSE VENTURA, FORMER GOVERNOR OF MINNESOTA: Well, probably the best thing that I could relate it to, Larry, was when they sent me to the SERE school, which is Survival, Escape, Resistance and Evasion, a POW school. There, we kept in small boxes for literally 24 hours, and the only time you were ever released out of your particular box was to be taken in and interrogated, possibly water boarded and any other stuff they could think of doing to you.

I think the main thing is keeping yourself mentally responsible, if I can use that word. You've got to stimulate your mind when you're sitting there bored to death. You experience fear. You experience all the elements that you possibly can. I think mental stimulation, whatever that may be to you personally, is what you have to do to survive it.

KING: More with Jesse Ventura right after this. Don't go away.


KING: We're back with Jesse Ventura, keeping an eye on the situation in Chile. We'll be going back there for a live update shortly. Later, we'll show you a clip from the new season of Jesse's show.

Jesse, you were kind of used in Navy SEAL training to being below the surface for a while. You were under the water, under the ground. What is that like?

VENTURA: Well, I think it would most equate, Larry, to submarine service. You know, anyone that is going to go into submarine service in the Navy has to go through a battery of tests and examinations and psychological evaluations, because certainly being in a mine is tremendously worse than being on a nuclear submarine. But by the same token, in a nuclear submarine, they go down for 30 to 60 days and you don't se the sun. And so you have to be psychologically prepared for that, and I would hope that miners would likewise be submitted to some type of battery of testing to ensure that they are psychologically prepared for what they do, because whether going down into the earth or down under the water, there is a claustrophobic capacity to what you are doing and you have to be comfortable with it.

KING: You wouldn't let them do any quick round of interviews, would you?

VENTURA: No, I would not do that. I would certainly not do that. I would definitely get them to a hospital, check their medical conditions, let them relax for a period of time, let them get their bearings back, let them attempt to get psychologically straight again before time of dealing with the media. Because, you know, they may say something -- and we all know how the media can take things out of context so quickly.

KING: I'll get into politics with you in a little while. We'll go back to Chile in a moment. One other thing in this area, how do you account for the affect -- their personalities were so amazing through all of this. VENTURA: Well, you know, when put in tough situation, tough people will respond. It's that simple. And certainly being a miner, that's got to be a rugged job. None of us would know what it would be like unless you walk in the shoes of the people that do it. So they've got to be pretty tough individuals to begin with, both psychologically as well as physically. And I'm sure that's what is going to carry them through, that and having the power of hope and a belief and believe in yourself and believe in your fellow man and never give up. It's that simple.

KING: Jesse, I don't think you'd fit in that capsule.

VENTURA: I don't know if I would either, Larry. It looked awful thin to be. It looked like one of those cigar tubes that I get a stogie out of. I don't think I'd care to get into it either.

KING: I don't think so either. We'll come back with Jesse in a little while and get into some politics. A big debate coming up here on CNN tomorrow night, by the way. A live update from the San Jose Mine after this.


KING: Michael Moore tomorrow night, following that Delaware debate. George Clooney on Thursday. Let's check in with CNN's Gary Tuchman for an up to the minute report on the rescue efforts in Chile. Again, we will be back with you live at midnight, 9:00 Pacific, as we continue this round-the-clock coverage. What's the absolute latest, Gary?

TUCHMAN: Larry, we're expecting that by midnight Eastern time, 9:00 Pacific that the first miner will be pulled in this area behind me, underneath the yellow bars. We're not just dealing with one incredible drama here, Larry. We're dealing with 33 incredible individual dramas.

It will probably take 24 to 36 hours for all 33 miners to pulled up. But once the first one is pulled up, within the next couple of hours, we just can't imagine what the scene will be like.

What will happen is the miners will be pulled up right next to where he comes out of the hole, 2,300 feet under the ground. There's a temporary triage center that has been set up for any emergencies. They will examine him quickly. His family will be in a tent right near the triage center. They will then be all taken to a special reunion center, where they will meet, hugs, kisses. They'll talk about old times.

It should be a remarkable scene. And then the miners will be put on a helicopter and flown to a nearby hospital for treatment. The hope is that over the next 24 to 36 hours, all 33 are pulled out safety, all 33 are in good shape. But the drama is just beginning. Larry?

VENTURA: Thanks, Gary. If it happens at midnight Eastern, 9:00 Pacific, you'll be seeing it right here, if you stay right with us under that beautiful harvest moon over Chile. Patrick Oppmann, our CNN all platform journalist, is with a lot of people anxiously awaiting this. Do they know now it may be another three hours, Patrick?

OPPMANN: Well, Larry, if it takes three hours, if takes all night, these people say they will be here, and it will be a celebration when we see that first miner taken out, when we see that second miner taken out and so on.

Let me just give you a quick look around the town square of Copiapo. This is where many of the miners are from. We're just going to pan around now, and take a look at some of the flags being waved. They are watching a large screen TV. This plaza has been on and off full for the last several hours. We're seeing people come in on the streets of Copiapo.

And many of these people worked with the miners. Many of them worked with them in the mine. Many of them knew them growing up. This is, for many of those miners, their town. This is a mining community, Larry. These people stand by their own. And they have done that since August 5th, when the collapse buried these miners underground.

It's just an amazing story. As soon as those miners are rescued, as soon as they have an initial checkup at the hospital, they will be taken by helicopter to the hospital. It's only about half a mile from where I am. They will spend the next several days there getting just about every kind of checkup imaginable. Then they will be released to their families and come back to their community. These men left this community just like any other miners. They are going to return, though, Larry, heroes.

KING: Carl, how do you explain the optimism of these people? I'm sorry, Patrick. How do you explain the optimism of these people?

OPPMANN: Absolutely. Absolutely. They are just such tough people, Larry. They do a tough job. A miner only makes about 12,000 dollars a year in Chile. And it's an incredibly dangerous job they do. They do it because they need to feed their families. They do it because it's, frankly, work they love. And they have tremendous faith. Many of them never gave up that faith.

Larry, they have gone through ups and downs before. They have lived in the mines. They've worked in the mines. They've faced the dangers in the mines. And in this case, the miners, despite a terrible accident, they believe will come back to them whole and safe. And the hopes and love of an entire town is placed on those miners tonight. And I know when we see those first images of the miners coming to the surface, there won't be a dry eye in this plaza, Larry, in this square.

KING: Thanks, Patrick. Patrick Oppmann, our CNN all platform journalist. Karl Penhaul, who I mentioned, is also on the scene. He will be back with us in a couple of hours when we come back. And Jesse Ventura comes back, along with some news about the capsule, when we all come back next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Before we check in with Jesse Ventura, let's go back to the mine and Karl Penhaul for the latest. Karl, what's up?

PENHAUL: Well, what they are trying to do is get this Phoenix II rescue capsule in shape. It's now on its second test run into that rescue shaft. There is a slight problem. And this is what the engineers are now working at, to fine tune, to tweak.

The problem is that it's a tight fit in this rescue shaft, and it really has to be that way, because if it's not a snug fit, then what could happen is that the rescue capsule could begin to gyrate. It could twist down, it. It could corkscrew into the mine. And that's not good, because on the way up if that happens, the miner could get nauseous, disoriented and even faint.

In order to secure that tight fit, the rescue capsule has some rubber wheels on the side. And those rubber wheels have to expand out to the side to make the fit. What it seems is happening, according to rescue technicians right now, at least one of the wheels on that capsule is not coming out properly, so it's not a snug fit. So what they're doing is working to try and adjust that so that it fits very precisely into the rescue shaft.

So that's what they're doing now. We don't know how long it's going to take before they can get that fixed, Larry.

KING: We had some difficulty there hearing from Karl Penhaul. We'll check on that and clear everything up. Let's get back to New York and Jesse Ventura, whose new season of "Conspiracy" -- well, let's check on the difficulty first. We'll come back right after this.


KING: The difficulty there was in a little gizmo in my ear piece and you heard the complete Karl Penhaul report as it aired. So the difficulty was on this end, not on that end. Back with Jesse Ventura, whose "Conspiracy Theory" goes into its second season Friday night. And let's see a clip from it. Here Jesse is on a boat with the Coast Guard in pursuit. Watch.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Coast Guard is hot on the tail of Jesse Ventura as he attempts to reach Plum Island. Word is out that he's accompanied by Jim McCoy, a Plum Island worker who was fired after he blew the whistle on dangerous safety violations.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's following us, guys.

VENTURA: This Coast Guard boat is definitely following us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you think they're going to do? VENTURA: We've got the Coast Guard behind us. We got these guys here. What the hell, I used to be a governor. What do they think I am, a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) terrorist?


KING: Are you enjoying doing that show, Jesse?

VENTURA: I really like it, Larry, because, first of all, I love to attack our government.

KING: I know.

VENTURA: It's an unending thing. You get tremendous amount of stories, and it keeps me vim and vigor. And I like to seek the truth and I think that my government's lied to me so often that this is a show that allows me to do that.

KING: Where is Plum Island?

VENTURA: Plum Island is located right on the end of Long Island. And the unique thing about it, Larry, is it's a biological testing area that was created by a guy named Eric Traub (ph), who was a Nazi right under Himmler and the SS. And his specialty was creating biological warfare using wood ticks and mosquitoes. And that's the big conspiracy here, because Lyme Disease, the first recorded case was in Lyme, Connecticut, which is right across the water from Plum Island.

And imagine this, they're doing this type of research there, this type of danger, and they're 80 miles from Boston and 75 miles from downtown New York, the most populated area in our country, Larry.

KING: Wow. Couple of other things, Jesse, that show renews Friday night, its second season on Tru TV.

VENTURA: Yep. That's true.

KING: I'm sorry, what were you saying?

VENTURA: I was going to say they let me do JFK this year, Larry. And everybody asks me what I can bring new to the John F. Kennedy murder. How about an audio, visual and written confession? That's what you'll hear this year.

KING: Wow. Wow. What do you make of the midterm elections?

VENTURA: Not a lot. I mean, it looks like the Democrats are going to take it on the snout, which shows me clearly that the country's memory is about six months. Because they seem to be blaming President Obama for the economy. And if I remember correctly, I believe it started going bad under George Bush and a Republican- controlled House and Senate. I guess we're going to go back to that again.

My view is we've got to get rid of both of these parties. I now stand for the abolishment of the Democrats and Republicans. Don't put them on ballots, just put names on there.

VENTURA: But I don't imagine you're in favor of the Tea Party.

VENTURA: No, not really, because I think that they're just an extension of the Republicans. Again, Larry, I don't support the third party movement anymore, because, to me, the system is so corrupt that any third party that's going to enter and be competitive within this system is going to have to corrupt itself. Well, it's already a two- headed monster; why would we need a three-headed monster?

Let's abolish political parties. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams all stood for that. So I've got pretty good people standing behind me.

KING: I don't believe the Constitution mentions parties, does it?

VENTURA: I don't believe it does, either. I think this is something that came later. I like to refer to them as the Demo-crips and the Re-blood-licans, Larry. And let's have no gangs in government. Let's start cleaning out our government of the gangs that run it.

KING: What do you make of this Christine O'Donnell candidacy? She's going to be debating her opponent tomorrow night on CNN at 7:30 Eastern. We're going to follow that with Michael Moore at 9:00. What do you make of her?

VENTURA: Is this the Delaware woman?

KING: Yeah.

VENTURA: Well, I find her kind of laughable in my own way. When you see the background on her, and you hear that she's in all this trouble -- she's living off her campaign -- excuse me -- her campaign donations, which is totally illegal, if that's true. And it just seems that running for office has become a job today and a way to support yourself. And I don't know exactly what to make of her. Delaware doesn't have a lot of people, so I suppose she stands a chance to win.

KING: Jesse, ever want to come back to the political wars?

VENTURA: When "Conspiracy Theory" is over, I might. That gives --

KING: Oh, really?

VENTURA: That gives me a lot of excitement right now. I enjoy what I'm doing right now. But when that ends its run, well, one never know if one will get back in politics or not. I know my wife will hate to hear that. But again, she'll go along with whatever I do because that's why we've been married 35 years.

KING: So Jesse Ventura saying tonight he might run again for political office. VENTURA: Just --

KING: Thanks, Jesse.

VENTURA: Just don't hold your breath, Larry. Thank you.

KING: Jesse Ventura, new season of "Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura" premieres Friday night. We're going to be back two hours from now with continuing coverage of the Chilean mine rescue. To continue that coverage, here's our own Anderson Cooper. Anderson?