Wed, October 13, 2010
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Chile rescuers test run capsule

2010-10-12 10:27:18 GMT2010-10-12 18:27:18 (Beijing Time)  SINA.com

Rescuers conducted a successful test on Monday of the capsule that will lift 33 miners trapped underground in Chile to safety.

The miners will travel almost 600 metres before reaching the surface, with each trip taking between 10 and 15 minutes.

(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) PRESIDENT OF ACHS, ALEJANDRO PINO, SAYING:

"They have said they are in high spirits. Today they were extremely lighthearted when asked the question of how they felt about being a few hours away to begin this epic rescue procedure, unprecedented in the history of engineering and history of mine rescues."

The government has chosen the most psychologically stable and experienced of the miners to be among the first to take the claustrophobic journey.

Meanwhile, Chile's health minister said preparations are well underway at Copiapo hospital, where the miners will be treated.

(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) CHILEAN HEALTH MINISTER, JAIME MANALICH, SAYING:

"The beds are ready, so are personal hygiene items, clothes. Each unit (bed) has the capability to provide oxygen. They can be used to extract secretions and have a state-of-the-art monitor where we can evaluate various parameters in a continuous manner."

There are several surprises awaiting the miners when they reach the surface.

They've been invited to soccer games in Spain and Britain, and will be offered a holiday in the Greek islands and a $10,000 gift from a mining magnate.

As anticipation grows over the miners' release, more relatives are arriving at the settlement beside the mine known as "Camp Hope", as they count down the hours until families will be reunited.

Kirsty Basset, Reuters.

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