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Steel Tubing to Help Pull Chilean Miners to Surface

October 11, 2010 at 12:00 AM EST
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JEFFREY BROWN: Freedom for 33 trapped Chilean miners inched ever closer with news the evacuation is set to begin Tuesday at midnight. Today, rescuers finished installing steel tubing to reinforce the top of a shaft that will bring the miners to the surface.

We begin our coverage with a report from Geraint Vincent of Independent Television News.

GERAINT VINCENT: As the drill which has created the miners’ escape routes left Camp Hope on the day when their families were finally told when the rescue attempt would start, there was one woman who made a point of thanking each member of the team.

Maria Segovia has been here every day of the miners’ confinement, because her brother Dario is one of the 33.

“I’m so happy,” she told me. “I’m thrilled. It’s the news we have been waiting for.”

I walked with Maria into a now disused mine where as children she and her brother used to play. About 100 meters in, we came to a spot where part of the mine had collapsed.

“Sometimes, when the mining companies think they have found a rich seam,” Maria told me, “they carve too much out of the mountain and take away its strength. That’s why the San Jose mine collapsed, because of greed.”

Further down, and out of the darkness, there appeared one of the steel shelters that the miners are trained to run to should the roof and the walls start to cave in.

Well, Maria is explaining to me the supplies, the emergency kit that the miners would have in a refuge like this, which she says is very similar to the one in the San Jose mine, the air supply, food in here and medicine in that little box.

I have to say, I have been in here a few minutes, and it’s a very unsettling feeling. Who knows what it must be like to be stuck in a place like this for 65, 66, 67 days.

Maria told me that her brother knew the mine was insecure and he was about to quit his job, but he needed the money. She keeps a photo of Dario next to the Camp Hope I.D. card she wears around her neck.

You must be proud of him.

The mining families here think of the mountains as being very much alive. Maria told me that she believes the San Jose mountain was angry, and that’s why it trapped Dario inside. There may be just one more day to wait now before it lets him return to the light.