SANTIAGO, Oct. 12 (Xinhua) -- The 33 miners, who have been trapped since Aug. 5 in a copper mine in northern Chile, was expected to be rescued in a operation starting soon.
The following is a timeline of the ordeal, one of the major mining accidents in Chile's history.
Aug. 5 -- A copper-gold mine in the northern desert of Chile collapsed, leaving 33 miners trapped some 700 meters underground. The rescuers tried to use sounding equipment to establish contact with them.
Aug. 6 -- Mining Minister Laurence Golborne flew back to Chile to lead the rescue effort in Copiapo. Mine authorities were pinning their hopes on the possibility that the trapped miners had reached a shelter where oxygen, water and food had been stored.
Aug. 8 -- Rescuers began drilling a hole 12 cm in diameter into the mine to try to locate the miners.
Aug. 10 -- Chilean President Sebastian Pinera said that he had contacted experts from Peru, the United States, Canada and Australia in a request for international assistance to help rescue the 33 miners.
Aug. 12 -- Pinera said he still hoped the trapped miners could be rescued, although their survival chances appeared slim.
Aug. 22 -- Chile was ecstatic as the first images of the 33 miners trapped for 17 days were transmitted on television, after the rescuers made contact with them.
Aug. 23 -- The rescuers began sending glucose and water to the 33 miners.
Aug. 24 -- Pinera said the trapped miners could be rescued before the end of the year.
Sept. 5 -- The 33 miners set a survival record inside the mine and were in good mental and physical condition, according to doctors and rescuers.
Sept. 7 -- Chile had more to celebrate than just the bicentennial of its independence from Spain. The first of three rescue drills reached the 33 miners underground.
Sept. 8 -- Joining their compatriots, the 33 miners did not forget the nation's bicentennial even when their lives were in danger. Video images from the depth of the well showed the miners, some of them dressed in red, singing the national anthem, and one of them was dancing.
Sept. 21 -- Golborne said that the rescue of the 33 miners could not be completed before November.
Oct. 1 -- Golborne said that October would be the new date to rescue the 33 miners.
Oct. 5 -- The 33 miners marked two months since the mine they were working in collapsed on Aug. 5.
Oct. 8 -- Golborne said that drill T-130, also known as Plan B, could reach the miners as early as that day and the evacuation of the miners could begin the next week.
Oct. 9 -- A 624-meter deep rescue tunnel was completed. Golborne said that the extraction of the miners could begin starting Wednesday.