One billion people watch Chilean mine rescue on TV

Celebrities from around the world have voiced their emotion, congratulations and good wishes for the salvage operation in the Atacama Desert.

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The rescue of the 33 miners trapped underground in the northern Atacama Desert has placed Chile at the epicenter of global current affairs. The successful operation, which started at midnight on Tuesday, was followed on TV by around a billion people worldwide, according to estimates from international sources.

The arrival of two thousand journalists from around the world at Camp Hope, the encampment built by the miners’ families after the mine collapse last August 5th, has been reflected on the websites of the global media, with the news in the headlines as much as 12 hours before the rescue began.

In the United States the New York Times, the Washington Post and The Miami Herald have followed the ascent of the workers step by step, as have the Bild in Germany, Le Figaro in France, El Mundo, El País and ABC in Spain, The Guardian in England, Yomiuri Shimbun of Japan and the Herald Sun of Australia, according to the Chronicle, a section of the Santiago newspaper El Mercurio.

The impact was such that “Chilean miner”, “capsule”, “Miners Rescue” and “phoenix” were among the trending topics of the social network Twitter, the latter referring to the name of the metal capsule which has been lifting the workers one by one from a depth of more than 600 meters.

Via Twitter, celebrities from all regions joined in the good wishes, congratulations and emotion which have flooded the rescue operation, located 800 kilometers north of Santiago, the capital of Chile.

The president of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, said “we are with Chile! God be with you. Greetings to President Piñera!!”. The teen singer Justin Bieber said he was “happy for families being reunited”, while the creator of Playboy, Hugh Hefner, described the event as “a true miracle” and congratulated those involved.

Currently in Chile playing a concert, the members of the rock band Pixies said they were “delighted with the liberation of the miners” and the former U.S. vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin said workers have demonstrated a “will to live which is an inspiration and encouragement to all mankind.”

Puerto Rican singer Ricky Martin chanted “Chi Chi Chi, le, le, le”, his Colombian colleague Juanes wished “all luck to Chile and the Chileans” and the Spaniard Alejandro Sanz followed the rescue with particular attention: “Beautiful… The first just came out… What emotion… Viva Chile.”