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Joy as first Chile miners freed

October 13, 2010
"We hope that with the help of God this epic will end in a happy way,"
- Mr. Piñera

A global audience watched captivated on Wednesday as the first of 33 miners trapped for a record 68 days deep underground emerged into the cold night air of Chile's Atacama desert.

People logged on and tuned in to read, watch and listen as Florencio Avalos was successfully extracted from the depths of the San Jose mine at 0310 GMT, followed by co-worker Mario Sepulveda exactly one hour later.

The fate of the men, who were trapped more than 600 meters (2,000 feet) underground for 17 days before being discovered, has become a momentous human interest story, enthralling people at every twist and turn.

Wellwishers from every corner of the globe, ranging in status from fellow miners to heads of state, have turned their attention on the remote site.

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