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33 trapped Chile miners found alive after 17 days

Aug 22, 2010 6:10:00 PM - thestate.com
All 33 Chilean miners trapped deep underground for 17 days were found alive Sunday, Chile's president confirmed. A probe sent some 2,257 feet (688 meters) deep into the collapsed mine early in the morning came back with a handwritten note: "All 33 of us are fine in the shelter."

President Sebastian Pinera joined authorities and family members in congratulations and hugs. They climbed a nearby hill, planted 33 flags and sang the national anthem.

"We are overjoyed at the news," said Pinera, who euphorically waved the note written in red letters. "Today all of Chile is crying with excitement and joy."

Mine officials and relatives of the workers had hoped the men reached the shelter when a tunnel collapsed Aug. 5 at the San Jose gold and copper mine about 528 miles (850 kilometers) north of the capital, Santiago. But they had said air and food supplies were limited.

When rescuers sent the probe early Sunday, one of eight drilled since the mine collapse, they heard hammering sounds and immediately turned optimistic.

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