33 trapped miners in Chile ‘free in 10 days’

The 33 Chilean miners trapped underground for two months could be freed within 10 days, the country’s president said yesterday.

Rescuers estimate a relief tunnel could reach the men, trapped 2,300ft beneath the Atacama desert, within the next two days. They have been there since August 5. President Sebastian Pinera said his government is “very close” to freeing the miners and he hopes to be there to see the rescue before leaving on a trip to Europe.

It was Pinera who told the miners after they were found alive on August 22 that they would be saved by Christmas. His government has assembled a team of hundreds to support the men while three simultaneous drilling operations pound escape shafts through half a mile of rock.

Just last week, rescuers estimated a late-October pullout from the shelter. Now the president has changed the expected date to before his October 15 departure.



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