Chilean miners surface after 2 months underground

The 33 Chilean miners trapped underground for more than two months are finally being winched, one by one, to the surface, where they are being greeted by jubilant crowds and emotional family members.

The rescue is one of the deepest and most technologically advanced ever to be conducted, experts say, and will offer valuable lessons for future mine-safety and rescue operations.

By mid-afternoon here, the precarious operation to hoist to the surface 33 miners who were trapped under a half-mile of rock for more than two months was moving along so efficiently that officials expected the job to be completed by the end of the day, far ahead of schedule.

“All okay!” 48-year-old Dario Segovia, the 20th rescued miner, shouted to his rescuers right before they lifted him out of the ground. Once freed from the cage-like rescue device, he thanked God and walked to hug his wife. Workers then wrapped him in a blanket and took him to triage for medical treatment.

After some routine maintenance, the capsule went back into the ground to fetch the next man — Yonny Barrios, 50, who became the group’s medic in the mine. He arrived to hearty handshakes and hugs from the doctors aboveground.

When the 17th miner, Omar Reygadas, 56, was released from the harnesses of the rescue capsule, he got down on his knees, then held his hands in the air and waved the blue and red flag of one of Chile’s soccer teams.

For more than 15 hours, the miners have been emerging at regular intervals in a pageant that has moved a worldwide audience — watching on television, on computers, even on mobile phones — to tears and laughter.

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