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Trapped Miners' Rescue

Aired October 13, 2010 - 04:00   ET



MONITA RAJPAL, CNN ANCHOR: Five miners are free. A sixth is just minutes away from being rescued -- 27, 28, still underground.

Hello. I'm Monita Rajpal.

ZAIN VERJEE, CNN ANCHOR: Hi there. I'm Zain Verjee.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States, as well as around the world. Our special coverage, the rescue of Chile's San Jose miners continuing. We want to s how you some live pictures now at the scene where rescuers are lowering the capsule to bring up the sixth miner.

There was a little bit of delay because they were greasing the wheels of the capsule itself before the sixth rescue. It was turning a little bit slower than the previous rescues. We kind of saw teams almost like Formula One racing where a team comes in, it changes the wheel, and it's back down now.

RAJPAL: And it's been a clockwork there at the San Jose mine. And the scenes there have been, as one understandably, know it's deeply e emotional, especially each time another miner has reached the surface. This was the moment when the first man emerged.




RAJPAL: That was Florencio Avalos. The first man out. His young son was overjoyed to get his father back. And that was just the first in a series of amazing scenes.

VERJEE: Mario Sepulveda was up next. But he came bearing gifts. It was quite a scene. He reached into his bag and then he thanked rescuers and the Chilean president, Sebastian Pinera, with souvenirs that he got from the mine. He was so excited, he hugged the president three times.

And, you know, they may be just rocks but they are going to be priceless tokens for his appreciation and it may even get something eBay together, piece of the rock. RAJPAL: You never know. There is no sign the Sepulveda was overwhelmed by the experience at all. He looked ecstatic to be out. He ran to the group of rescuers, beating his chest and led the crowd in chanting the name of his country before his smiling President Pinera.

VERJEE: Chi, chi, chi, le, le, is what he's saying there. Carlos Mamani from Bolivia then was the next one out. And a couple of hours late. So, he was the fourth miner to come out. He is the only non- Chilean of the whole 33.

His wife and Chilean president were there. They were waving the Bolivian flag.

When he stepped out of the Phoenix capsule he fell to his knees and thanked God he was alive.

RAJPAL: Jimmy Sanchez was number five. He is just 18 years old. He is the youngest of the group. His father was waiting for him and gave a huge bear hug when he stepped back on the solid ground.

Some are calling it a miracle at the mine. CNN's Gary Tuchman is watching the rescue unfold from the center of it all, at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. He joins us now live.

And, Gary, it's one of those stories, you we often don't get to do this, but it's one of those really good, good news stories, a very emotional time there in Chile.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Indeed, it's absolutely true. A lot of times when we do these stories, they're feature stories. Now, a lot of friends, and sometimes people are, my friends say, how come you news people don't do more good news stories. Well, this is a breaking news story that is a wonderful news story.

The moment we're living through right now are what the family and friends of miners have dreamed about for weeks. It was five hours ago that the first miner came up through the tube that's right behind me, in that, what they're calling a cage, but what officials here are calling also a capsule and came out and was greeted by his family. It was such an emotional moment.

I'm standing here. Tonight, there are about 175 reporters on this perch overlooking the area. It's going down a little bit now because it's so early in the morning here. But when that happened, there just utter silence here.

But the amazing thing about this perch that we're at, we're the closest civilians to where these amazing emotional rescues are taking place. However, we're not seeing the rescues as well as you are seeing them or our viewers seeing them because we don't have monitors set up for the close-up shots.

But it's kind of like a soccer or a basketball game. You see it better on your TV, on your HDTV with the replays. But when you're in the arena, the atmosphere is just incredible. And that's the way we feel here as we've watched these rescues take place, five of them.

And now, as we speak, the capsule is on its way down. In about five more minutes, it will be totally down. Whenever you see the wheels on top of those yellow posts spinning counter-clockwise, that means the capsule is going down. When it spins clockwise, that means it's going up.

Once it goes down, they will load up man number six and that is Osman Araya. Osman Araya had worked in the mine for four months when this accident happened. He has four children. And the wife will be so grateful to see him like so many of the other families have been so far today. When he comes up, that will be six up. There'll still be a total of 27 more to go.

This could go into late night Wednesday and early Thursday before it all comes to an end. But the hope or anticipation is, now that it's succeeded so far, everyone's expecting this to be a very happy ending for all 33 miners.

Monita and Zain, back to you.

RAJPAL: Gary, as we see the wheel turning as we wait for the sixth miner to emerge from below the surface, tell us a little bit about this operation in itself. We understand, it takes about 15 minutes for the capsule to be lowered to where the miners are and then approximately about the same time for it to come up. Tell us a little bit about that procedure.

TUCHMAN: Yes. That's a really amazing procedure. (INAUDIBLE) camera shot which the Chilean arranged. I mean, we're not only seeing shots of miners coming out right here being greeted by their family members, but there are cameras underneath the ground. There are cameras where they were in the mine. We've never had a live shot like that, ever, in recorded broadcast journalism history.

So seeing these gentlemen underground where they live for 68 days is amazing. The amount of time it takes so far, each ride has taken between 14 and 15 minutes for the men to get up, once they get up. It's so amazing when you see them way below ground and they put the miner inside the capsule and then when that capsule takes off like a rocket. I mean, it literally looks like a model rocket. It almost looks like a toy. It's not ultra sophisticated.

And after all, it's a wheel and a rope that's controlling. But what I call that wheel tonight is the wheel of good fortune because that wheel is giving a lot of good fortune for the miners, their families (INAUDIBLE).

RAJPAL: Yes, that's a great way of looking at it, Gary. Thank you very much. Gary Tuchman there at the San Jose mine in Copiapo. Of course, we'll be checking in with Gary throughout this day here.

VERJEE: It is the wheel of good fortune, but before that, it really has been the longest shift of their lives -- 68 days trapped underground and now, the trauma and this subterranean captivity is coming to an end. You saw a little bit earlier just how excited the second released miner was, Mario Sepulveda, just to be up, engulping fresh air, being around his family, hugging his friends, and the president, and the miners out there. Within hours of getting out, he sat with his family, and he told the world this.


MARIO SEPULVEDA ESPINACE, RESCUED MINER (through translator): God doesn't carry out tests with anyone, no. I think we have the possibility of being able to face things in life like we have just faced. I have faced many situations, but I think this was the hardest. But I am so happy that it happened to me because I think that it was a time to make changes.

And this country must understand once and for all that we can make changes, that many changes have to be made. We can't stay as we are. I think that businesspeople have to help so changes can be made as to workers. Things cannot stay the way they are.

I think changes must take place for workers so there will be changes. We cannot stay as we are.

Under no circumstance -- I was with God, and I was with the devil. But God won. I held onto God's hand, the best hand, and at no point in time -- how do I explain this. At no -- at no point in time did I doubt that God wouldn't get me out of there.

Once we found out that there were such extraordinary people as there were up there working to get us out, another thing that's very important, we always knew that there was a great person mixed into all of this aside from the great government we have. Really, really trusted a lot. I always trusted him because I know he's a great businessman, very successful, and I think that what he has done -- has done -- he's done it with great effort. He deserves to be where he is based on the effort that he has exercised.


VERJEE: In the weeks we've been covering the story, you know, we've really been getting to know some of the miners and their families. They've been staying at a makeshift tent city known as Camp Hope, just there around the opening of the mine. And it's been described as really being a type of carnival-type atmosphere going on there right now.

What we want to show you on the screen is the wheel that's turning. It's actually turning counter-clockwise, you'll see. So, that indicates that the capsule, known as the Phoenix, is actually going down. It takes about 15 minutes or so to get to where the miners are.

As soon as we see it turning clockwise, that will be good news because it means miner number six is coming up.

Rafael Romo now introduces you to three of these miners' families.


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a handwritten message scribbled on a rumpled piece of paper. But Lila Gomez, it meant the world. It was the physical evidence that her husband, against all odds, was alive, trapped in a copper mine 2,000 feet under the surface.

"Dear Lila, I'm OK, thanks to God," the message said. "I hope to get out soon. Be patient, have faith, God is great. We will make it out."

The message was from Mario Gomez. At 63, he's the oldest and most experienced of the 33 miners who became trapped in a copper and gold mine in northern Chile.

This was one of the first videos that showed their families and the world that they have survived and were in good spirits. For eight weeks, a small borehole was their only means of communication to the outside world.

Jose Vega is among the family members who have been patiently waiting. The 70-year-old father, a miner himself, had given his son, 31-year- old Richard Alex Vega, a warning.

"I told my son two months before the cave-in, 'Son, that mine is sending you a warning, stop working there.' But he said, 'Dad, I'm fixing up my house, I need to carry on.'"

Vega, seen here in one of the first videos showing that the miners were alive followed in his father's footsteps. He was attracted to the mine by the relatively good wages.

From the deeps of the San Jose mine also came a marriage proposal.

Esteban Rojas wrote a letter to Jessica Yanez, the woman with whom he has lived for 25 years. They have three children and two grandchildren, but they never got married in church. He sent the marriage proposal in a letter.

"I read what he had sent and started to shout with happiness," she said.

(on camera): Her answer, of course, was yes. And now, they're closer than ever to the wedding that had to wait for a quarter of a century.

Rafael Romo, CNN, Atlanta.


RAJPAL: The eyes of the world are on the screen right now. What you are seeing is the vision within the mine where the trapped miners have been for 68 days.

We understand that the capsule has now reached that level and it will bring up Osman Isidro Araya Araya. He's 30 years old. He's married with three children. He'd worked at the mine for four months before the collapse.

He will be coming up momentarily. It will take about 15 minutes for him to make his way up to the surface where he will see his family. And, of course, it will be a moment -- it's a moment that that's been captured with other miners, last five miners, by the international attention. There are about 1,500 journalists from 39 nations. They are watching this emotional story take place.

VERJEE: And around the world, this is a story that has captivated human imagination and has gripped the world, that perseverance -- the universal story of struggle, of hope, of resilience.


RAJPAL: We are live at the San Jose mine in Chile where the past few hours have brought scenes of jubilation and immense relief. What you're seeing there now are scenes of actual mine where the trapped miners are still. Some 28 miners still underground waiting to be rescued.

The capsule, the Phoenix One, as it's called, has arrived, has reached underground. It took about 15 minutes for it to get there. It had to be re-jiggled a little bit, the wheels had to be greased.

And update now, it's back down in the mine and now it will take the sixth miner, Osman Isidro Araya Araya back up to the surface level, where, of course, he will be greeted by his family. They've been waiting for 68 long days for their loved ones to come up and to be freed.

Now, freedom, at least, one by one, the men trapped underground for the past, again, two and a half months, wait their turn to make that hazardous ascent, and it ain't over yet.

VERJEE: It's not. You know, as we celebrate and there are so many scenes of happiness and relief at the scene, on the ground, as the rescue operation continues. It's still, it's worth pointing out, it's still pretty precarious.


VERJEE: You know, many people on the scene are saying that they're a little concerned about the rocks that may actually fall off and then trap the capsule coming off. So far that hasn't happened. But this is a story also of great danger and great risk to the miners.

RAJPAL: Well, we are also -- sorry to interrupt you. We're also -- but this the second phase now we're also looking at, because the first miners that have been freed, they were deemed the fittest, the strongest and healthiest to come up --

VERJEE: Right.

RAJPAL: -- so that they would be able to help the rescuers with information, technological know-how, and now, we've probably see those who are not as healthy. So, they might have a different reaction when they do reach the surface of the ground.

VERJEE: That's a really good point because many of them have, you know, issues like diabetes or hypertension or they have skin lesions because of the humidity that's been in the cave.

But, you know, the eyes of the story, Monita, as you've been saying, as you all know on this story, the world is watching. We've got something like 1,500 media workers there close to the mine, covering the story, from roughly 300 different organizations from 39 countries. We know what that's like.

RAJPAL: Yes. No kidding.

VERJEE: Every piece of information, every kind of interview we could get, anything, just to really give us a clearer picture of what happened down there. We don't know the full story yet.

RAJPAL: No, not yet. But we want to know what viewers around the world, what you're saying about the rescue.

Atika Shubert joins us now from the newsroom with the look at some of the reaction that she's been hearing -- Atika.

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Well, basically, Europe is just waking up to this news, watching it in our TV screens. But in Asia, of course, they've been watching it throughout their day. Japanese TV, for example, has had -- numerous channels have been following this, this dramatic, real-life saga happening.

And in San Francisco, in the United States, last night, there were also a number of people watching live as the first miner was rescued. A lot of cheers when he finally broke through to the surface.

So, a lot of people all over the world watching, and we've also had some viewers sending in material to us from Sri Lanka, from Ecuador. And we have one particular viewer, Juan Lopez from Mexico City who has sent us something. He says he was watching our coverage and he can't hope but think of his own grandfather, Christino, who's a silver miner in center east of Mexico, and he says that his grandfather would have been happy to have the focus squarely on the miners he says the world rarely focuses on the kind of dangerous conditions that these workers work in.

So, that's just a quick sampling of some of the different reactions we've been getting round the world. We'll have more later on as well.

RAJPAL: All right. Atika, thank you very much for that.

VERJEE: Just, you know, just falling off of that, Monita, what I think is really interesting is just how international the rescue operation has been. I was reading that the cable has actually pulling up the capsule itself is German and then the fiber optic line that has allowed us to communicate with the miners is actually from Japan, and then as you know, NASA has helped design the capsule. You've got Canada, the U.S., Australia -- all involved in the drilling expertise around the area here as they were trying to drill three shafts. So, it is a very international operation.

RAJPAL: Absolutely. But let's not forget the Chilean expertise. This has been built also by the Chilean navy. Some of the best in the business, the best of the best as they say are involved in this rescue operation.

Just to give you an update, what you're seeing on the -- I guess would be the right side of the screen is the actual mine where the miners are. The capsule is there and they're readying the sixth miner, Mr. Osman Isidro Araya Araya to get him into the capsule. It is a dangerous operation, to get him in, because when you think about it, it's about, I guess shoulder width.


RAJPAL: It's about 13 feet long and it will be going up in a corkscrew manner. So, it -- and we understand that -- there you see it -- the capsule is making its way up to the surface level. It will take 15 to 17 minutes to do so. It's a cork screw.

So, if anyone has some, you know -- as you were mentioning, hypertension before, any sort of health issues, that might prove to be a bit difficult of a journey. The capsule does have an oxygen supply. It also has a telephone in it as well.

VERJEE: Jonathan Mann was describing what it was like to be like in one of those capsules. And he described it as almost feeling like you were in a coffin because there's really no way to move around. And as you point out, they'll have oxygen. They'll also have video and audio access.

You know, this was captivated people online. This story has gone totally viral.

Kristie Lu Stout has been surfing the Internet and looking at those social media world and seeing what kinds of comments and posts are out there.

Hey, there. What are you seeing?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: OK. Well, this is what we're seeing. Again, we're keeping an eye on social media reactions from around the world.

But, first, let's start in Chile with the message from the Chilean president, tweeted around the time of the first rescue. Sebastian Pinera wrote this, and this is translated, of course, from the Spanish. "What emotion! What happiness! And pride to be Chilean, with gratitude to God."

And now let's turn to tweets from here in Asia.

This from Sri Lanka. He writes, "Maybe this episode will usher in a new era of safety methods and procedures.

Also from Asia. This coming here from the Philippines. We could bring it up for you. "The Chileans are so inspiring, and kind of makes me jealous as a Filipino. I wish our government was as decisive about crises." Of course, making reference to that recent bus hostage crisis there in Manila.

And another comment from the region. This is from Siena Weibo, which is China's equivalent of a Twitter. @Diandianer writes this, "If this mine accident happens in China, can those trapped miners survive until now?"

And that's just one of many angry comments in a country where mine disasters are a regular occurrence.

Now, let's take a broader look at the online conversation around the story. In fact, almost 4 percent of all the discussion on social media is about the Chile mine rescue. And you can see more and more people are talking about it as the miners are being pulled out one by one.

Now, we've teamed up with a company called Crimson Hexagon to track what is being said about the story on Twitter in the last 24 hours. Check out the pie chart. You can see that the biggest subjects are the rescue timeline and specifically the drilling effort.

But the human side of the story is also part of the conversation, people discussing the miners' families, their mental state, and how they've been managed to survive so long underground. And, of course, people are tweeting about their personal expression of support for the rescue effort, totaling about 18 percent of the conversation.

Now, Zain, I know you've been following all the reaction online, but we need to get Monita more onboard, don't we?


RAJPAL: I'm online. I've been tweeting.

VERJEE: She's online. She's on TV. She's on.


STOUT: We need to get you more active, you know?

RAJPAL: I'm an observer. I'm an observer. Kristie, point taken. I'll do more.

VERJEE: We're going to have a lot from Chile after this break. But we wanted to show you a live picture right now, what is happening there on the ground right now. The capsule is coming up, but the good news is, the wheel is moving clockwise. Miner number six is about to be rescued and gulp some fresh air, Osman Isidro Araya.



MARIA SEGOVIA, SISTER OF MINER (through translator): -- to God that everything turns out well. That will be a miracle. We just are waiting for the last effort.


RAJPAL: For the family of the miners, the long vigil is nearly over. That was Maria Segovia. Her brother is scheduled to be number 15 out of the mines. So far, five men have been lifted to safety, 28 others are waiting their turn. The sixth one is en route.

VERJEE: We are watching the clocks, but for the moment we wanted to just take a look at other news going on around the world this hour. We're looking at the events at the San Jose mine in Chile, but we won't let you miss a bit of the action there.

Don is in the newsroom -- Don.

DON RIDDELL, CNN ANCHOR: The Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's first state visit to Lebanon is under way. He's expected to meet with the Lebanese president, as well as the leaders of Hezbollah's resistant movement. That's according to Iran's press TV. The U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has expressed concern about the visit.

The race is on in Hungary to build three emergency dams that should prevent a second wave of toxic sludge. Officials have told CNN that it's only a matter of time before the wall of the existing reservoir breaks.

In the Gulf of Mexico, the Obama administration is giving the green light to resume deepwater oil drilling. Oil rig operations were ordered to stop following the BP oil spill in April, but only rig operators that agree to toughen new regulations will be allowed to resume drilling.

RAJPAL: Don, thank you very much for that.

Chile's great escape continues. These are pictures of a live scene of a dramatic rescue still underway at the San Jose mine. We are waiting for miner number six, Osman Isidro Araya Araya.

That's his loving family, partner, waiting for him to come up to the surface. She hasn't seen him in 2 1/2 months. This will be a reunion that we won't want to miss.

Stay with us.


VERJEE: Welcome back to our special coverage. History is being made at the San Jose mine in Chile. It is great to cover some good news and bring it to you. I'm Zain Verjee.

RAJPAL: And I'm Monita Rajpal. We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world.

VERJEE: Five miners are free. One more is on his way. We are looking at our watches about 5 or 10 minutes. Miner number six, Osman Isidro Araya will be out.

The rescue continues, you're watching the live pictures there at the scene. The wheel is turning clockwise, which means he is on his way up.

RAJPAL: Just a couple of minutes.

VERJEE: Gary Tuchman is watching as the Phoenix rises. That's the name of the capsule. Gary's at the center of the rescue at the San Jose mine in Copiapo in Chile. He's back now with us live. Gary, set the scene for us for rescue number six.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Zain and Monita. Right now in Chile it's 5:30 in the morning and we've become experts of the timing of this because this is our sixth miner coming up.

I expect that at 5:34 that wheel will stop turning and you will see the capsule and miner number six will come out. Miner number six is married with four children, worked in the mine for four months before this happened and now he will obviously have a very obviously grateful family.

We've seen some incredible reunions today. What we expected before all this began at 12:10 a.m. local time October 13th here in Chile was an emotional reunion. We didn't know what to expect because the government in Chile had been tight-lipped about their plans for coverage of this.

We must emphasize none of the camera shots as close as they ours. We don't control them, but they've really made this a full production. We appreciate it because as you said in the beginning. This is a good news story, it's a breaking news story.

It's a combination to have breaking news and good news. We have camera shots close up. We have camera shots underground where the miners have been for 68 days. As they go in, the capsule shoots through the hole. I t looks like an amusement park ride. The device itself - the capsule kind of what's like an amusement park ride.

It's ultra sophisticated or ultra technological. As a matter of fact, that wheel which is turning clock wise with the rope attached to it is going down, pulling up. It travels very slowly. The ride takes about 15 minutes, but it's all working.

That's the most important thing. These men have been underground for 68 days. No people in the history of this planet have ever survived that long underground. They have, they're being rescued. We're about to have number six, 27 more to go. Monita and Zain.

VERJEE: Gary, before the Phoenix, the capsule went to get number six, we saw picture of a team greasing the wheels of the capsule. It's still a pretty precarious situation, isn't it.

I mean, it has to go through such a narrow shaft that's actually not even straight and there are concerns that rocks could fall and jam things up. Just describe a little bit what some of the very real dangers that exist right now amid the celebratory turn as well.

TUCHMAN: Right. We totally expect it. I mean, there's no reason to rush it, but we got to get that capsule down really quick each time.

They're going to check it each time it comes up and they're going to give it regular maintenance just like you would for your car for an important trip so nothing unexpected. Nothing to be worried about when you see them taking off the wheel, greasing it and putting it back on.

They were actually doing some maintenance and the oxygen tanks that also going to the capsule because when these men come down they have a video hooked up, an audio hooked up. They have oxygen. They just want to make sure everything is perfect.

We'll be seeing more of that over the next roughly 27 more hours. This will go on until sometime Thursday morning or early Thursday afternoon.

VERJEE: We want to look at the live picture right now, Gary, as we are seeing the capsule is coming up, and miner number six, Osman Isidro Araya will imminently come up. We hope that he will be OK so all eyes are right there, right now. What about the other five miners, Gary? Where are they?

TUCHMAN: Remember, I told you 34 minutes after the hour, ladies. But right now according to my watch it's only 33 minutes. It's going to be one more minute and we'll see that cap will come up.

And what's happening with the other miners as soon as -- please interrupt me because you'll be able to see better than I will when the capsule comes up. We're seeing a bird's-eye view, but you see on TV much closer. I hear clapping right now which means that are probably going to be coming up any time, but the other five miners are on their way to the hospital. That's the plan. Here they come.

VERJEE: Gary, there it is. Bravo. There's Phoenix and the colors of the Chilean flag in red, white and blue and Osman Isidro Araya, the sixth miner. We see the emotions that he's making there in the capsule.

He looks OK. He's 30 years old. He's married with three kids. He started working at the San Jose mine, just four months before the collapse happened. His wife is out there.

We saw shots of her just moments ago. He's now being removed from the capsule, which must be a really terrifying journey coming up because now you can see outside and there's light, but it's pitch black in there.

RAJPAL: That's the thing. That's why they're all wearing these sunglasses as well to protect them from any of the light, but, of course, dealing with all the attention as well is to be a bit unnerving for these miners as they come up.

They are as excited as they are, understandably excited as they are, there's a feeling of a little bit of apprehension because of all the attention surrounding them.

But, you know, to see his wife's face as we saw earlier on, that look of anxiety, anxiousness, but, just, you know, cannot wait to see her husband. She hadn't seen him in 68 days, two and a half months, but there he is.

VERJEE: That's the reunion. Let's take a listen.

An emotional time understandably for Osman Isidro Araya and his wife and family. He is the sixth to be rescue, to be freed and to be brought back up to the surface.

Our Gary Tuchman is at the San Jose mine and you were talking earlier, Gary, about as great as it is for us to be able to see these scenes because we see them very well and very clearly, it's the feeling and ambiance of where you are. It must be electrifying.

TUCHMAN: That's right. I mean, we don't see it as well because we can't see the close up from where we are, but the atmosphere. You get a chill when these men who you know have been underground for 68 days, so far down.

Not knowing if they were going to survive. The families not knowing if they're alive and then they brought up majestically, and they have these very unselfish and great workers who are here, rescue workers who are singing songs and chanting when they come up.

It's an absolutely incredible atmosphere. Ultimately all of these miners will go to the hospital for a checkup as mandated. Most of them will be fine and be able to go to their families very quickly, but that's were all doing.

Helicopters are flying over us to take them, to ferry them to the hospital and the helicopters telling to turn off all the lights here so the helicopter pilots will not be blinded.

One thing I want to tell you about, number 7, the next man who will be brought. The number seven is Jose Ojeda. This is an important retrievable, an important rescue because Jose Ojeda is one of the more vulnerable miners.

He's a diabetic and there were some concern about him. What they wanted to do is bring up first some of the most emotionally, physically and mentally strong miners to make sure the capsule looked OK and then bring up some of the more vulnerable miners, and Jose Ojeda, the one who will be coming next is one of the more vulnerable miners.

VERJEE: Gary, thank you for that and of course now, what we'll see is Mr. Araya will be taken to as we've been seeing a field hospital near the mine and he'll undergo about two hours of some tests to make sure that everything is stable and then he'll be flown to a hospital in Copiapo that's about 15 minute away by helicopter.

I'd like to bring in our guest. The miners' ordeal may not be completely over once they get back to everyday life. Joining us now here in London to discuss some of the mental issues the miners could face is Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Psychologist and research fellow at the University College of London.

Sir, thank you for being with us. We understand they've all been in stable condition down there. Their health has been monitored down there, but once they come up is another story. What are some of the issues that we could see that they might face?

TOMAS CHAMORRO-PREMUZIC: Well, as we were just watching, I mean it's an emotional roller coaster and I think the first 20 minutes might be just packed with excitement and joy.

VERJEE: The adrenaline.

CHAMORRO-PREMUZIC: Exactly, but after that a new challenge begins. These are people who have been in unprecedented conditions, but they will go through all sorts of emotions, but amplified by a hundred times.

What we need to realize is that the huge differences and how people confront these thing. There were also wonder what's up there, but working in teams they can support each other, but now it depends a lot on their personality characteristics, on their families.

And even if they have a kind of good recovery and they adopt back to normal conditions, they won't be back to normal life ever again because they'll get all the media attention, you know they'll be national heroes, international heroes. Everybody will be watching them all the time.

VERJEE: One of the interesting things I'd like to talk about is it does -- the time factor make a difference in terms of how extensive psychological issues may be. For example, if someone is trapped for 24 hours versus someone who's trapped for 2 1/2 months. How different is that?

CHAMORRO-PREMUZIC: Absolutely. I think those are extreme time differences so between 24 hours and two months there is a big difference.

I think probably after two or three weeks, it doesn't make that much of a difference, the actually time. But it's your prediction of what will happen afterwards that will keep you going.

That -- human miners are incredibly flexible, which means they can adapt to these incredible inhumane conditions, but that also make it really hard to adjust back to normal life. You know, we all suffer from jet lag if we travel for five or six hours and have two or three hours time difference. This is a hundred times worth.

RAJPAL: Is this something where a busy psychological counseling will be - will be recommended to them. But is there a sense that some of them may not?

These are men, they're miners, and they're hard-working men. They want to be underground. They've been holding on very, very tightly, and they have this brotherly atmosphere down there. Is there a sense some of them may not want the psychological treatments at all?

CHAMORRO-PREMUZIC: I think some might not need it. I suspect it's going to be a minority, you know, maybe just 5 percent. There's also a minority who won't recover and I think we need to know this.

RAJPAL: When you say not recover, what do you mean?

CHAMORRO-PREMUZIC: They will not recover because they will suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder first and then experience anxiety for six months, a year.

They won't be back to sleep in their own bed. They're still have nightmares about it and they will be -- you know, they might not be able to go back to work or they might need to change careers, et cetera.

So even though miners have this kind of stereo type of being very tough, nobody is prepared for this and it really depends on how resilient each personality is.

VERJEE: Tell me about this. You touched on this, the effect -- the international attention will have on them. You've heard reports. You've seen articles about or talk about movie deals, book deals, all of this, all that attention on these individuals. What kind of effect will that have on them?

CHAMORRO-PREMUZIC: I think, you know, most people they won't want any attention now, most of these miners. But afterwards, again, I think it's only normal that they'll want to profit and benefit from it.

And I think, in a way, there's the money, there's the fame, the attention. But also they can teach us a lesson because nobody has been in this situation before.

We know that NASA engineers and psychologists are seeing how it is possible that we can live for so long in those conditions. So I think we can all benefit and learn from their experience.

RAJPAL: We hope to keep reporting a good news story. Hopefully that will continue. Thank you very much for your time and for your thoughts.

It's one thing to be underground with your 32 friends and colleagues and then to come up where you have the eyes of the world on you. That's a different story. One can only imagine what they're going to go through.

VERJEE: And as we focus on the here and now, it's really the euphoria of the moment, the excitement, the exoneration of gulping a little bit of fresh air after spending 68 days underground, 600 meters.

Osman Isidro Araya, the sixth miner is out. The capsule, the Phoenix, clad in the Chilean flag colors, red, white, and blue, is getting ready for its seventh journey underground.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They have blazed the trails, this group of experts and this group of miners. I think the point that needs to be made is the mine they were working in was not safe and we've got to deal with this in a preventive way so it doesn't happen again. It's a horrific experience for everybody concerned. You try to imagine what they felt in the first 17 days.

RAJPAL: That was Dave Fakert, a mine safety expert. We've been watching one miner after another being raised to the surface of the escape cage known as the Phoenix.

This piece of equipment was specially tested to negotiate the shaft about 700 meters deep. That's the equivalent of the height of two Eiffel Towers and these are live pictures that we're seeing there. They're getting ready for the next rescue.

VERJEE: Just moments ago the sixth miner Osman Isidro Araya was freed from entrapment and subterranean captivity in that mine. We want to show you the moment he came up.

Look. Here he is. He's 30 years old, filled with emotion, hugging his wife. Everyone is clapping. Look at that moment. Incredible reunions here. You can hear the chants behind him.

The president is there Sebastian Pinera as well. Everyone is witnessing this moment as he kisses his wife and hugs President Pinera who has really spearheaded this whole operation. It didn't matter what it cost, he said he was going do it.

What I think is amazing is how robust. I mean, being down there for 68 days and they look clean. They had water down there. They asked for razors and so they shaved. So they looked like they're in pretty good condition.

RAJPAL: They've been on a liquid diet as well exercising to make sure that they've actually also fit in the shaft.

VERJEE: This guy was actually in charge -- one of the guys in charge of the tube that they were sending medicines and food.

RAJ PAJ: The carrier pigeon.

VERJEE: The carrier pigeon. That's right. He was taken on a stretcher then to the stabilization center where he will then continue his reunion with his family.

RAJPAL: Mining is a huge industry in Chile but it's known for the dangers that they must face every day. Rafael Romo takes a look at some of the hardships these miners endure to make a living.


RAFAEL ROMO, SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR: In Chile, they're called the mining aristocracy because of the money they make, but that description ignores the fact that they perform one of the most dangerous jobs in the South American country. Accidents like the collapse that trapped the 33 miners at a depth of 624 meters are not uncommon, but this time the heroic rescue placed out in front of the world's media.

The oldest of the miners is 63 years old, the youngest is only 19. For a salary of a little more than $1,500 a month, they go to the depths of the earth to mine copper and other minerals risking their health and their lives.

Fifteen hundred dollars a month is more than four times the minimum wage in Chile, a dream salary for any worker. Mining especially copper has been a part of Chile's identity ever since the South American country was a colony of Spain.

Copper provides more than one third of the Chilean government revenue. Chile has the world's largest reserves of copper followed by Peru, its neighbor, and Mexico. Copper accounts for almost two-thirds of all of Chile's exports and 15 percent of its gross domestic product.

Before the accident, the San Jose mine employed 345 people including the 33 miners who were trapped. The future of the miners uncertain, the accident has put the spotlight on mining situation in Chile and the pressure to improve safety measures is greater than ever. Rafael Romo, CNN, Atlanta.


VERJEE: We've been watching six celebratory scenes in Chile as six miners have come out. And by all accounts to the amateur, to the naked eye, they look pretty robust. They looking pretty good condition.

But they were taken away, many of them -- all of them on a stabilization center nearby, reunited with their families and then they're going to take a 30-minute or so helicopter ride to Copiapo Hospital where they're going to be monitored for about 48 hours or so.

I want to get a little bit more medical insight into the condition of the men from the doctor who's worked with victims of mine accidents and we'll do that as we just watch the wheel turn clockwise known as the capsule, known as the Phoenix goes down to get the seventh miner.

On the line now from Brisbane, Australia, Dr. Steven Ayre. Good day, doctor. How do you think they look?

DR. STEPHEN AYRE: They look fabulous. It's a real credit to the rescue teams.

VERJEE: Is there anything - looking at the images of them coming out that you as a professional may see that we don't?

AYRE: No. I think we saw the same thing in Bakersfield where we were so surprised that they came out looking pretty well and they were able to walk. I think it shows the expertise of the team that's been assisting them below the ground, keeping them healthy. VERJEE: You were also advising people as well in the Tazmanian mine, right? You were advising survivors there. What did you tell them when they were underground in the moments before they came up like we're seeing here?

AYRE: Well, it was important to keep their spirits up with over two weeks in the as Tazmanian entrapment. There was a lot of communication and keeping good nutrition up to the trapped miners. It's really keeping the spirits going, that's the important thing, because of the uncertainty of the release time and all the set back that occurred from time to time as well.

VERJEE: Doctor, a lot of the more fit miners have been pulled up. Just in case there were any difficulties, they had constructed it this way so they could maybe handle it.

Now what we're going to see starting with the seventh miner, are people with more health issues. For example the seventh miner Jose Ojeda Vidal has diabetes. Someone else is suffering from hypertension.

Some may also have skin lesions caused by the humidity of the mine. What is it that they need to be careful about or rescuers need to be more careful about with people who are suffering from medical conditions like miner number seven?

AYRE: Well, I think they're all going to need support to make sure their condition isn't worsened with the sudden movement of the surface and the rehydration and all the other things, getting their nutrition levels back.

Particularly if they have other things like diabetes, their diets have not been particularly well managed down there. They may not have had access to medication. So it's important that those things are handled carefully.

VERJEE: Dr. Stephen Ayre speaking to us from Brisbane in Australia. Thanks a lot.

AYRE: Thank you.

RAJPAL: We are watching live pictures of the San Jose Mine in Chile as the capsule is being lowered. When you see the wheel going counter-clock wise that means the capsule is being lowered to now pick up the seventh miner to come up from the mine having been trapped for 68 days.

VERJEE: We'll take a break and be right back with the rescue. With we hope a successful one as well.


VREJEE: It is a new dawn for lost 33. You're looking at live pictures from the scene of the dramatic rescue - I mean, it is that. It's emotional, exhilarating, exciting, and it's good news over at the San Jose mine. You're looking at a live picture right now, the wheel for the seventh time, going counter-clockwise going to get miner number seven. It's been, Monnita, the longest shift of their lives, 68 days, suffering the trauma and captivity of being in a dank environment and dark environment for so long.

But in a 15-minute ride up, they're going to go through -- in that missile-like capsule and through solid rock to freedom and fresh air. Miner number seven, Monita, is Jose Vidal. He is scheduled to be the next guy out.

Now he's actually been on medication for diabetes while he's been underground. So this is going to be the first of the miners suffering from a medical condition and going into this capsule that spins as it goes up.

He has been a master driller by trade and every miner has had a specific role though to play while they are underground. So some people are in charge of the food that comes in, communication, someone's been the official spokesman.

But Jose Ojeda Vidal has actually been the group's secretary.

RAJPAL: And we will of course wait -- like we said, it takes about 15 minutes to get down and another 15 minutes to get up once we see Mr. Vidal to emerge from beneath the surface.

Miners have been emerging for over five hours now at the San Jose Mine. A few minutes ago, Osman Araya became the sixth miner to make it to the surface. His wife, understandably, was waiting for him emotionally as he stepped out of the Phoenix capsule.

Florencio Avalos was the first man to emerge some hours earlier just after midnight local time. His young son wet with joy to have his dad back.

VERJEE: Mario Sepulveda was next up. He had gifts -- he had the presence of mind to do that. He reached into his bags. He thanked the rescuers as well as the Chilean president, Sebastian Pinera hugging him I think three times, Monita. He gave them rocks that he brought up from the mine as a token of his appreciation. I wouldn't mind a piece of that rock.

RAJPAL: This is our modern-day. Sepulveda was ecstatic to be out. He run over to the group of rescues watching on and led the crowd and chanting the name of their home country.

VERJEE: We all sort of feel like we want to jump into those chants right? We keep hearing them go chi-chi-chi le-le-le. That's what's going on. There was one nationality that wasn't Chilean down in the mine. That's was the Bolivian, Carlos Mamani. He came out a couple of hours later. He was the fourth miner and the only non-Chilean of the 33. His wife and Chilean president where there. They were both waving the Bolivian flag. Lots of warm embraces, cheers, hugs, and cheers all around. RAJPAL: Jimmy Sanchez was miner number five. He waved a flag as he came up in the capsule. He's just 18 years old. He's the youngest of the group. His father was waiting for him as he was taken for tests.

This is one of those moments in our work that we actually are really happy to be a part of it because you feel the emotion as it -- it just kind of transcends everything, and it's -- it's a great news story and one can only imagine that kind of emotion that they're feeling right there on the ground, the 1,500 or so journalists from 39 nations.

VERJEE: It really has gripped the world - the story of human struggle, of perseverance, of resilience and unity.

RAJPAL: And our special coverage of these dramatic rescues continues at the top of the hour.