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Scenes of joy, celebration as miners rescued

By the CNN Wire Staff
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World riveted by mine rescue
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Crowds near the mine watched the rescue unfold on giant screens
  • They were surprised to see images from inside the mine
  • There was plenty of shouting and flag-waving as the first miner was rescued

(CNN) -- Bundled up and gathered in front of giant screens, the families of the trapped miners and Chileans who live nearby watched as a cable attached to winch pulled and pulled from a hole in the Earth.

It was late Tuesday when the top of the Phoenix rescue capsule breached the surface and brought the first trapped miner to the surface.

The large crowds in the town of Copiapo, and at a tent city at the mine site known as Camp Hope, roared with applause.

They yelled and whistled, honked horns and were overjoyed at what was the beginning of the end of a tragedy seemingly averted.

When the first miner, Florencio Avalos, emerged from the capsule and hugged his weeping son, there were more tears and hugs all around.

The joy of the moment was reflected in the people at Camp Hope.

Video: Tears fall as Chilean miners rise
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Patriotism also swelled as those gathered at the tent city broke into a spontaneous rendition of Chile's national anthem.

Watchers also were surprised and elated to find that the rescuers had rigged a camera in the mine, providing a live feed from inside. People weren't expecting to be able to see the miners getting ready and climbing into the rescue capsule before their ascent.

The celebrations continued, as by Wednesday afternoon, more than half of the miners had been freed.

Part of complete coverage on
How miners reached the surface
The Phoenix raises miners from their underground cell
Who are the miners?
One has led fellow workers in Elvis singalongs, another has been mining for 50 years
Miner 'saw God, devil' during ordeal
"I buried 40 years of my life down there," says Mario Sepulveda. "I was with God, and I was with the devil."
Rescue effort galvanizes Chile
The mine rescue turned into a celebration and expression of Chilean pride
The world watches
Few events have gripped the watching world in recent times as the miners' rescue
Timeline: How the drama unfolded
From cave-in to freedom -- 69 days below ground
360 panorama of rescue site
CNN's interactive gives a 360-degree sweep of the site of the Chile mine rescue