The rescue of 33 miners who were trapped two months at a depth of 700 metres in a copper and gold mine in the North of Chile, could be pushed forward to the middle of October, according to an announcement from President Sebastián Piñera.
At first President Piñera was told that the earliest the miners would get out would be Christmas. But after receiving good news from the rescue teams at the San José mine, Chile’s President has announced that his government is “very close” to pulling the 33 men to safety.
“I hope to be able to rescue them before I leave for Europe,” President Piñera said, who will travel to Germany, France and Great Britain in the second half of the month.
This week marked the miner’s 60th day in a two kilometre long stretch of dark, damp tunnel. Many families have been camped at the site, which is high on a mountainside, above the blooming flower desert near the town of Copiapó.
In recent days drilling efforts have moved closer as three engineering teams use three different approaches that include specialists and engineers from South Africa, United States, and Canada.
Since the news story broke it has become a sensation around the world and thousands of media are expected to descend on the area when the miners emerge.
Several setbacks have slowed progress, but as excitement about one of the most anticipated moments this year in world media builds, the release date has gradually been pushed forward. The announcement that the men may be out before October 15 has taken many by surprise.