"Three drills using three different technologies raced to finish a rescue shaft. This weekend it happened.
The so-called Plan B drill, an American-made Schramm T-130 water will borer, broke through to the men early Saturday.
Drill operator Jeff Hart was brought in from Afghanistan to help in the rescue effort.
Hart said the area where the mine was located is one of the toughest terrains to drill and the crews took extra care to ensure safety of both the rescuers and the miners.
'You take a more personal approach to it,' he said.
A bell announced the breakthrough to the miners' families at the makeshift camp outside the mine gates. What followed was a spontaneous celebration, but it will no doubt be dwarfed by the celebration that will follow the rescue of all 33 men."*
"[T]he men will wear [special clothing] for the ascent, shirts with their names embroidered, girdles and socks.
The miners have been given aspirin amid concerns about blood pressure changes and blood clots during the trip to the top. Today, they will only drink a high-calorie liquid specially prepared for them by NASA to avoid nausea.
... The rescue capsule leaves nothing to chance. A man riding inside will wear an oxygen mask, his heartbeat and body temperature will be monitored, and he will wear a telephone headset to talk with the rescue team above.
.. If something goes wrong during the journey to the surface, there is an escape system that allows the miner to separate the capsule so that he can be lowered back into the mine.
.. When the men reach the surface, they will have to wear sunglasses to protect their eyesight from the glare of daylight."
As fame and scrutiny follow each man, soap opera-type sub-plots are likely to emerge. Before he even emerged one miner tried to seduce the nurse who spoke to him daily on a phone line.
"He was asking to go out with me, then he started talking about how he likes to make love. I began to blush," said the nurse, who asked not to be named because the married miner still has a crush on her. "I went home and told my husband: 'What do I do? One of the miners is falling in love with me.'"
"As of early afternoon, there were five rescue workers currently down in the mine, and a sixth rescue worker would go down “in a few hours” to replace some of the other workers, Mr. [Laurence] Golborne [, Chilean Mining Minister] said."
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