Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 2 August 2015

Chile miners rescue: Shift leader Luis Urzua helped miners stay calm

Published 14/10/2010 | 04:58

Luis Urzua, center, the 33rd and final miner to be rescued from the San Jose Mine near Copiapo, Chile
Luis Urzua, center, the 33rd and final miner to be rescued from the San Jose Mine near Copiapo, Chile
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 13: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Ariel Ticona, the 32nd miner to be rescued, is hugged by Chile's president Sebastian Pinera on October 13, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5, 2010 collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 13: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Ariel Ticona becomes the 32nd miner to be rescued on October 13, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5, 2010 collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 13: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Ariel Ticona becomes the 32nd miner to be rescued on October 13, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5, 2010 collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 13: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Ariel Ticona becomes the 32nd miner to be rescued on October 13, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5, 2010 collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 13: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Pedro Cortes becomes the 31st miner to be rescued on October 13, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5, 2010 collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 13: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Pedro Cortes becomes the 31st miner to be rescued on October 13, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5, 2010 collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 13: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Pedro Cortes becomes the 31st miner to be rescued on October 13, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5, 2010 collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 13: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Raul Bustos becomes the 30th miner to be rescued on October 13, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5, 2010 collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 13: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Raul Bustos becomes the 30th miner to be rescued on October 13, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5, 2010 collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 13: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Raul Bustos becomes the 30th miner to be rescued on October 13, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5, 2010 collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
In this screen grab taken from video, Luis Urzua, center, the 33rd and final miner to be rescued from the San Jose Mine near Copiapo, Chile, is seen after his rescue. (AP Photo)
The 33 miners who were trapped alive in the San Jose mine. Top row from left to right are Alex Vega Salazar, Ariel Ticona Yanez, Carlos Andres Bugueno Alfaro, Calros Barrios Contreras, Carlos Mamani Solis, Claudio Antonio Acuna Cortes, Claudio David Yanez Lagos, Daniel Esteban Herrera Campos, Dario Antonio Segovia Rojas, Edison Fernando Pena Villarroel and Esteban Alfonso Rojas Carrizo. Second row from left to right are Florencio Antonio Avalos Silva, Franklin Lobos Ramirez, Jimmy Sanchez Lagues, Jorge Hernan Galleguillos, Jorge Ricardo Ojeda Vidal, Jose Samuel Henriquez Gonzalez, Juan Andres Illanes Palma, Juan Carlos Aguilar Gaete, Luis Alberto Urzua, Mario Nicolas Gomez Heredia and Mario Sepulveda Espina. Third row from left to right are Omar Orlando Reygada Rojas, Osman Isidro Araya Acuna, Pablo Amadeos Rojas Villacorta, Pedro Cortez, Raul Enriquez Bustos Ibanez, Renan Anselmo Avalos Silva, Richard Reinaldo Villarroel Godoy, Samuel Dionisio Avalos Acuna, Victor Antonio Segovia Rojas, Victor Hermogenes Zamora Bugueno and Johny Barrios Rojas
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 13: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Franklin Lobos, 53, becomes the 27th miner to be rescued on October 13, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5, 2010 collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 13: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Esteban Rojas, 44, kneels to pray after stepping out from the rescue capsule and becoming the 18th miner to be rescued while his wife holds up a cloth print of the Our Lady of Guadalupe on October 13, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5, 2010 collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 13: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Franklin Lobos, 53, becomes the 27th miner to be rescued on October 13, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5, 2010 collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 13: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Franklin Lobos, 53, becomes the 27th miner to be rescued on October 13, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5, 2010 collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 13: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Carlos Bugueno Alfaro (2ndR), 26, becomes the 23rd miner to be rescued on October 13, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5, 2010 collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 13: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Carlos Bugueno Alfaro (2ndR), 26, becomes the 23rd miner to be rescued on October 13, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5, 2010 collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 13: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Richard Villarroel becomes the 28th miner to be rescued on October 13, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5, 2010 collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 13: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Juan Carlos Aguilar becomes the 29th miner to be rescued on October 13, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5, 2010 collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
Roxana Gomez, daughter of rescued miner Mario Gomez, cries as she watches on a TV screen the rescue operation of her father at the relatives camp outside the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile, Wednesday Oct. 13, 2010. Gomez was the ninth of 33 miners who was rescued from the San Jose mine after more than 2 months trapped underground. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
In this photo released by the Government of Chile, miner Pablo Rojas gestures as workers remove his rescue equipment after being pulled out of the collapsed San Jose gold and copper mine where he had been trapped with 32 other miners for over two months near Copiapo, Chile, Wednesday Oct. 13, 2010. (AP Photo/Hugo Infante, Chilean government)
Rescued miner Daniel Herrera gives a thumb up to journalists upon his arrival at the hospital in Copiapo, Chile Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010. Herrera was the sixteenth of 33 miners to be rescued from the San Jose mine after more than 2 months trapped underground. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)
Margarita Rojo, center, mother of miner Dario Segovia is embraced by relatives after watching on a TV screen the rescue operation of his son at the camp outside the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile, Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010. Segovia was the twentieth of 33 miners to be rescued from the mine after more than 2 months trapped underground. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
Miner Raul Bustos, in beige t-shirt, embraces his wife Cristy Coronado as Chile's President Sebastian Pinera, third right at back, applauds after Bustos' rescue operation at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. (AP Photo/Jorge Saenz)
In this photo released by the Government of Chile, miner Jhonny Barrios Rojas, left, embraces his girlfriend Susana Valenzuela after being rescued from the collapsed San Jose gold and copper mine, near Copiapo, Chile, Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010. Barrios was the twenty first of 33 miners to be rescued from the mine after more than 2 months trapped underground.(AP Photo/Hugo Infante, Government of Chile).
Relatives of miner Dario Segovia react as watching Segovia on a TV screen during his rescue operation at the camp outside the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile, Wednesday Oct. 13, 2010. Segovia was the twentieth of 33 miners to be rescued from the mine after more than 2 months trapped underground. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
Rescued miner Omar Reygadas, 56, waves to the press as he arrives at the hospital in Copiapo, Chile, Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010. Reygadas was the seventeenth of 33 miners from the San Jose mine who was rescued after more than 2 months trapped underground. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)
In this photo released by the Government of Chile, miner Pablo Rojas gestures as workers remove his rescue equipment after being pulled out of the collapsed San Jose gold and copper mine where he had been trapped with 32 other miners for over two months near Copiapo, Chile, Wednesday Oct. 13, 2010. (AP Photo/Hugo Infante, Chilean government)
Rescued miner Dario Segovia, 48, waves to the press as he arrives at the hospital of Copiapo, Chile. Segovia is the twentieth of 33 miners rescued from the San Jose mine after more than two months trapped underground. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)
In this photo released by the Chilean government, miner Renan Avalos is carried away on a stretcher after he was rescued from the collapsed San Jose gold and copper mine where he had been trapped with 32 other miners for over two months. (AP Photo/Chilean government, Gabriel Ortega)
In this photo released by the Government of Chile, miner Renan Avalos, third right, smiles after being rescued from the collapsed San Jose gold and copper mine, near Copiapo, Chile.(AP Photo/Government of Chile, Gabriel Ortega)
In this photo released by the Government of Chile, miner Richard Villaroel, centre left, waves a Chilean flag after being rescued from the collapsed San Jose gold and copper mine near Copiapo, Chile. (AP Photo/Government of Chile, Hugo Infante)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 13: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Osman Araya, 29,is hugged by a relative as he becomes the sixth miner to exit the rescue capsule, on October 13, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5, 2010 collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images) *** BESTPIX ***
Scenes from the Chile mine rescue. October 2010
Scenes from the Chile mine rescue. October 2010
Scenes from the Chile mine rescue. October 2010
Scenes from the Chile mine rescue. October 2010
Miner Mario Gomez gestures after exiting the capsule that brought him to the surface during his rescue from the collapsed San Jose gold and copper mine where he had been trapped with 32 other miners for over two months near Copiapo, Chile
Alfonso Avalos, father of trapped miner Florencio Avalos, reacts while watching on a TV screen the rescue operation of his son, the first of 33 miners to be lifted to the surface
Chile mine rescue. October 2010
Chile mine rescue. October 2010
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 13: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, the oldest rescued miner Claudio Mario Gomez, 59, kneels as he becomes the ninth to exit the rescue capsule, on October 13, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5, 2010 collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
Chile mine rescue. October 2010
Chile mine rescue. October 2010
Scenes from the Chile mine rescue. October 2010
Scenes from the Chile mine rescue. October 2010
Scenes from the Chile mine rescue. October 2010
Scenes from the Chile mine rescue. October 2010
Scenes from the Chile mine rescue. October 2010
Scenes from the Chile mine rescue. October 2010
Scenes from the Chile mine rescue. October 2010
Scenes from the Chile mine rescue. October 2010
Scenes from the Chile mine rescue. October 2010
Scenes from the Chile mine rescue. October 2010
Osman Araya, 29,is hugged by a relative as he becomes the sixth miner to exit the rescue capsule, on October 13, 2010 at the San Jose mine
Carlos Mamani, 23, is stretchered off as he becomes the fourth miner to exit the rescue capsule, on October 13, 2010 at the San Jose mine
Jimmy Sanchez, the fifth miner to be rescued, celebrates after his rescue Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010 at San Jose Mine
Florencio Avalos, 31, becomes the first miner to exit the rescue capsule at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 13: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Carlos Mamani, 23, becomes the fourth miner to exit the rescue capsule, on October 13, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5, 2010 collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
Marcelo Vilquinina, nephew of trapped miner Carlos Mamani Solis, yawns as he watches rescue operations on TV from the camp outside the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile, Wednesday Oct. 13, 2010. Thirty-three miners became trapped when the gold and copper mine collapsed on Aug. 5. Mamani was the fourth miner to be rescued. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
A boy gestures as he watches on TV the rescue operations at the San Jose mine to free 33 trapped miners in Copiapo, Chile, late Tuesday Oct. 12, 2010. Thirty-three miners became trapped when the gold and copper mine collapsed on Aug. 5. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)
In this screen grab taken from video, Carlos Mamani, the fourth miner to be rescued, celebrates after his rescue Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010 at San Jose Mine near Copiapo, Chile. Mamani had just started working as a heavy-equipment operator at the mine when it it collapsed. (AP Photo)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 12: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Mario Sepulveda, 39, is the second miner to exit the rescue capsule October 12, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5th collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
In this screen grab taken from video, rescuer Manuel Gonzalez Pavez, second left, speaks to the 33 trapped miners after being lowered into the mine near Copiapo, Chile.(AP Photo)
In this photo released by the Chilean government, Bolivian miner Juan Illanes is carried away on a stretcher after being rescued from the collapsed San Jose gold and copper mine where he was trapped with 32 other miners for over two months near Copiapo, Chile, early Wednesday Oct. 13, 2010. (AP Photo/Hugo Infante, Chilean government)
Rescued miner Juan Andres Illanes Palma, center, third miner to be rescued, salutes at his arrival to the surface from the collapsed San Jose gold and copper mine where he was trapped with 32 other miners for over two months near Copiapo, Chile, Wednesday Oct. 13, 2010.at the San Jose Mine near Copiapo, Chile Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010. Center right is Chile's President Sebastian Pinera.(AP Photo/Roberto Candia)
Chile's President Sebastian Pinera, center, first lady Cecilia Morel, left, and Mining Minister Laurence Goldburn, right, talk to the press after the rescue of the first of 33 trapped miners at the San Jose Mine near Copiapo, Chile Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010.(AP Photo/Jorge Saenz)
Rescued miner Juan Andres Illanes Palma, third miner to be rescued, salutes at his arrival to the surface from the collapsed San Jose gold and copper mine where he was trapped with 32 other miners for over two months near Copiapo, Chile, Wednesday Oct. 13, 2010.at the San Jose Mine near Copiapo, Chile Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010.(AP Photo/Roberto Candia)
A person holds a sign that reads in Spanish "Strength miners, Chile is with you" with a group of people watching on rescue operations on TV taking place at the San Jose mine to free 33 trapped miners, in Copiapo, Chile, late Tuesday Oct. 12, 2010. Thirty-three miners became trapped when the gold and copper mine collapsed on Aug. 5. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)
In this screen grab taken from video, Juan Andres Illanes, the third miner to be rescued, celebrates after his rescue Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010 at San Jose Mine near Copiapo, Chile. (AP Photo)
In this photo released by the Chilean government, Bolivian miner Juan Illanes is carried away on a stretcher after being rescued from the collapsed San Jose gold and copper mine where he was trapped with 32 other miners for over two months near Copiapo, Chile, early Wednesday Oct. 13, 2010. (AP Photo/Hugo Infante, Chilean government)
In this photo released by the Chilean presidential press office, Chile's President Sebastian Pinera, center right, greets the second rescued miner Mario Sepulveda after he was rescued from the collapsed San Jose gold and copper mine where he was trapped with 32 other miners for over two months near Copiapo, Chile, early Wednesday Oct. 13, 2010. (AP Photo/Jose Manuel de la Maza, Chilean presidential press office)
In this screen grab taken from video, Florencio Avalos, the first miner to be rescued, center, is greeted after his rescue Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2010 at San Jose Mine near Copiapo, Chile. (AP Photo)
In this photo released by the Chilean presidential press office, Chile's President Sebastian Pinera, right, hugs rescued miner Mario Sepulveda after Sepulveda was rescued from the collapsed San Jose gold and copper mine where he was trapped with 32 other miners for over two months near Copiapo, Chile, early Wednesday Oct. 13, 2010. (AP Photo/Jose Manuel de la Maza, Chilean presidential press office)
In this photo released by the Chilean presidential press office, Chile's President Sebastian Pinera, fourth right, applauds while the capsule with the first rescued miner Florencio Avalos comes out from the collapsed San Jose gold and copper mine where he was trapped with 32 other miners for over two months near Copiapo, Chile, early Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010. (AP Photo/Jose Manuel de la Maza, Chilean presidential press office)
This undated photo released by Diario Atacama, shows miner Florencio Antonio Avalos Silva. According to Maria Silva, Avalos' mother, Chile's President Sebastian Pinera told her that her son will be the first miner to be pulled out of the mine. (AP Photo/Diario Atacama)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 12: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Mario Sepulveda (back to camera), 39, the second miner to exit the rescue capsule, is greeted October 12, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5th collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 12: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Mario Sepulveda, 39, the second miner to exit the rescue capsule, receives a hug October 12, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5th collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 13: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout provided by the Chilean government October 13, 2010, Manuel Gonzalez, a rescue specialist from Codelco, stands in the rescue capsule at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5th collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. Gonzalez was the first rescue worker to be lowered into the mine. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 13: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout provided by the Chilean government October 13, 2010, Manuel Gonzalez, a rescue specialist from Codelco, stands in the rescue capsule at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5th collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. Gonzalez was the first rescue worker to be lowered into the mine. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 12: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Mario Sepulveda, 39, is the second miner to exit the rescue capsule October 12, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5th collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 12: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Mario Sepulveda, 39, is the second miner to exit the rescue capsule October 12, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5th collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 12: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Mario Sepulveda, 39, the second miner to exit the rescue capsule, shakes hands with Chilean President Sebastian Pinera (R) October 12, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5th collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 12: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Mario Sepulveda, 39, is the second miner to exit the rescue capsule October 12, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5th collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
In this screen grab taken from video, Florencio Avalos, the first miner to be rescued, left, is embraced by Chilean President Sebastian Pinera after his rescue at San Jose Mine near Copiapo, Chile. (AP Photo)
In this screen grab taken from video, Florencio Avalos, the first miner to be rescued, center, is greeted after his rescue at San Jose Mine near Copiapo, Chile. (AP Photo)
In this screen grab taken from video, Florencio Avalos, the first miner to be rescued, center, is greeted after his rescue at San Jose Mine near Copiapo, Chile. (AP Photo)
Chile's President Sebastian Pinera embraces miner Florencio Avalos after he was rescued from the collapsed San Jose gold and copper mine where he was trapped with 32 other miners for over two months near Copiapo, Chile.(AP Photo/Roberto Candia)
Mining Minister Laurence Golborne and rescue chief Andre Sougarrete, right, hold hands as rescue worker Manuel Gonzalez Paves is lowered in the capsule into the mine where miners are trapped to begin the rescue at the San Jose Mine near Copiapo, Chile.(AP Photo/Roberto Candia)
In this screen grab taken from video, rescuer Manuel Gonzalez Pavez, second left, is greeted by the trapped miners at San Jose Mine near Copiapo, Chile.(AP Photo)
Relatives and friends of trapped miners celebrate while watching on a TV screen the rescue operation of Florencio Avalos at the camp outside the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile.
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 12: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera and Mining Minister Laurence Golborne stand with the family of Florencio Avalos while waiting for the trapped miner to exit the mine in the rescue capsule October 12, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5th collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 12: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera (L) and Mining Minister Laurence Golborne shake hands after Roberto Rios, a technical expert arrived at the bottom of the rescue hole October 12, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5th collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
Patricio Sepulveda, a corporal of the police special operations unit, smiles after arriving at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile
In this screen grab taken from video, Mario Sepulveda Espina, the second miner to be rescued, celebrates at San Jose Mine near Copiapo, Chile. (AP Photo)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILI - OCTOBER 12: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera watches the first dry run of the descent of the unmanned rescue capsule October 12, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation could begin bringing up the 33 miners tonight, 69 days after the August 5th collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
This undated photo released as a courtesy by Diario Atacama, shows miner Mario Sepulveda Espina. According to rescuers Sepulveda will be the second miner to be pulled out of the mine late Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2010. (AP Photo/Diario Atacama)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 12: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Manuel Gonzalez, a rescue specialist from Codelco, prepares to be the first rescuer lowered into the mine in the unmanned rescue capsule October 12, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation could begin bringing up the 33 miners tonight, 69 days after the August 5th collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 12: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Manuel Gonzalez, a rescue specialist from Codelco, prepares to be the first rescuer lowered into the mine in the unmanned rescue capsule October 12, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation could begin bringing up the 33 miners tonight, 69 days after the August 5th collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILI - OCTOBER 12: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera watches the first dry run of the descent of the unmanned rescue capsule October 12, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation could begin bringing up the 33 miners tonight, 69 days after the August 5th collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILI - OCTOBER 12: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera watches the first dry run of the descent of the unmanned rescue capsule October 12, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation could begin bringing up the 33 miners tonight, 69 days after the August 5th collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
Jaime Manalich, Chile's health minister, has been closely monitoring the miners' mental and physical health (AP)
Chile's mining minister Laurence Golborne stands inside a capsule that will be used to rescue trapped miners (AP)
Drill operator Jeff Hart embraces Elizabeth Segovia, sister of trapped miner Dario Segovia Rojo, at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile (AP)
Chile's mining minister has said 33 men trapped for more than two months will probably start to be pulled out on Wednesday (AP)
Chile's First Lady Cecilia Morel, right, embraces a relative of a trapped miner outside the San Jose mine in Copiapo, Chile (AP)
Relatives of the trapped miners await further news of their rescue in Chile (AP)
The Plan B drill, one of three drills working in the rescue operation of 33 trapped miner in Chile (AP)
A relative shows on his mobile phone new images of the trapped miners in Copiapo, Chile (AP)
A man carries a Chilean flag during a small ceremony marking 60 days since 33 miners became trapped in Chile (AP)
Workers move a capsule that will be used to rescue trapped miners from the collapsed San Jose mine in Chile (AP)
Trapped miners inside the San Jose mine in Copiapo, Chile (AP)
Trapped miners celebrate Chile's independence bicentennial inside the San Jose mine in Copiapo, Chile (AP)
The camp where the relatives of 33 trapped miners are waiting in Copiapo, Chile
Some of the 33 trapped miners inside the San Jose mine in Copiapo, Chile (AP)

The Chilean miners had no real hope they would ever be found. Luckily, the men had Luis Urzua.

Mr Urzua, 54, was the shift commander at the time of the disaster and used all his wits and his leadership talents to help his men stay calm and in control for the 17 harrowing days it took for rescuers to make their first contact.

It was no surprise, then, that Mr Urzua was the last of the 33 miners to leave the San Jose gold and copper mine after more than two months of confinement.

Mr Urzua - after shaking hands and embracing rescue workers - climbed into a cramped cage at 9.46pm and was hauled up from a narrow hole drilled through 2,000 feet of rock. He arrived at the top 11 minutes later to jubilant cheers, songs and applause.

"We have done what the entire world was waiting for," he told Chilean president Sebastian Pinera immediately after his rescue. "The 70 days that we fought so hard were not in vain."

Mr Pinera greeted Mr Urzua like the fellow leader he has been. "You have been relieved, coming out last like a good capitan. ... You have no idea how all Chileans shared with you your anguish, your hope, and your joy," he said.

"You are not the same, and the country is not the same after this. You were an inspiration. Go hug your wife and your daughter."

With Mr Urzua by his side, he led the crowd in singing the national anthem.

Robinson Marquez once worked with Mr Urzua in a nearby mine, Punta del Cobre. "He is very protective of his people and obviously loves them" and would not have left until all his men were safely aboveground, Mr Marquez said.

Under Mr Urzua's leadership, the men stretched an emergency food supply meant to last just 48 hours over two and a half weeks, taking tiny sips of milk and bites of tuna every other day.

"We had only a little food," Mr Urzua said today. "We give thanks to God that we were able to resist" eating it all right away.

The trapped men made sparing use of their helmet lamps - their only source of light other than a few vehicles. They fired up a bulldozer to carve into a natural water deposit, but otherwise minimised use of the vehicles, which contaminated the available air.

Mr Urzua said that when rescuers first made contact by pounding a narrow borehole into their refuge, the miners were so elated that "everyone wanted to hug the hammer".

He described the difficulties of the first days, saying it took about three hours for the dust to settle before the men could inspect where tons of collapsed rock sealed off the main way out.

He said he knew they were in for a long wait. "I saw (the collapsed rock). Many thought it would be two days. But when I saw it, I knew otherwise," he said.

After the collapse, Mr Urzua was the first to speak to Mr Pinera and to urge him to not let him and his men down.

"Don't leave us alone," he implored the president.

Mr Marquez described Mr Urzua as a "calm, professional person" and a born leader.

"It is in his nature," Mr Marquez said. "It is his gift."

INTO THE LIGHT...THE MINERS' PRIVATE LIVES

One is a great-grandfather four times over, another a 19-year-old father. A third - the oldest - is 63 and has spent half a century working the mines. A fourth had a wife and a mistress too.

The men who survived 69 days trapped underground after a mine collapse made history as they - and their private lives - tumbled out into the light.

THE MEDIC

Johnny Barrios Rojas' rescue was among the most anticipated - if only to see who would be there to greet him.

No 21 of the men pulled from the collapsed mine, Mr Barrios gained notoriety as the man who had two women at Camp Hope - his wife of 28 years Marta Salinas, and his mistress of four, Susana Valenzuela.

Ms Salinas apparently knew nothing of the affair until the two women ran into each other amid the tents pitched by family members anxiously holding vigil - and a very public spat ensued.

Mr Barrios, 50, looked around sheepishly today as he emerged from the rescue tube that elevated him to the Earth's surface, peering through sunglasses as mining officials in red shirts applauded loudly.

Behind him, smiling widely and waiting for him to notice her stood Ms Valenzuela. When he did not, the round-faced strawberry blonde walked around to face Mr Barrios and gave him a long kiss and hug, weeping into the shoulder of his jumpsuit as he whispered into her ear.

Ms Salinas was nowhere to be seen.

Weeks earlier, Mr Barrios' wife had ripped down a poster of her husband put up by his mistress. Defiant, the mistress taped the poster back up, and beneath several poems and prayers she had dedicated to him, she signed it "Your Wife".

Dubbed "el enfermero" - the nurse - Mr Barrios served as the miners' medic during the ordeal, dispensing medication sent in by health officials, passing out nicotine patches and photographing wounds.

He reportedly ended all his letters this way: "Get me out of this hole, dead or alive."

THE VETERAN

He had promised her if he got through this alive they would finally have their church wedding - after three decades, four daughters and seven grandchildren.

So when 63-year-old Mario Gomez emerged, grasped a Chilean flag and dropped to his knees to pray, Lilianett Ramirez was the one who pulled him up from the ground and held him in a long embrace.

The promise of a proper wedding came in the first letter Mr Gomez had ever written to his wife during their 30-year marriage. Scrawled on sheets of notebook paper, the letter was placed in a plastic bag and tied to the end of the drill bit that first broke through to their underground purgatory, along with another miner's message announcing: "We're all OK in the refuge, the 33."

Read on television by President Sebastian Pinera, Mr Gomez's "Dear Lila" letter was filled with faith and determination, and showed the world the miners were holding strong.

A miner since he was 12, Mr Gomez is missing three fingers on his left hand from a mine accident and suffers from silicosis, a lung disease common to miners. He made the ascent wearing an oxygen mask and was on antibiotics and medicine for bronchial inflammation.

As the most experienced miner in the group, Mr Gomez, using maps and diagrams, became "the GPS we needed down there", rescuers said.

THE ORGANISER

Omar Reygadas became a great-grandfather for the fourth time while trapped underground.

The 56-year-old electrician had survived other mine collapses and was said to have exclaimed "Not again!" when he and the others were trapped by the August 5 collapse.

Mr Reygadas later helped organise life below the surface, calming others when they got nervous and helping them get what they needed from authorities outside.

"He is in charge of ensuring that we are well," one miner wrote to his wife.

THE YOUNGSTER

Jimmy Sanchez, the youngest at 19, proposed to his 17-year-old girlfriend while he was trapped below, though his father urged him to reconsider. The couple have a four-month-old daughter.

"You are just 19, and have so much life ahead of you, to enjoy, to know people," read the letter Eugenio Sanchez sent to his son. "It cannot be that because you are now closed up in the mine that you are going to throw away all your plans."

"It's fine that you want to be with Helencita and everything... but get married? Well, marriage is a really serious thing."

But girlfriend Helen Avalos said she was sure they would be wed. "He has to keep his word," she said. But first, "We'll have an enormous party. I think we'll have almost 500 people."

THE EVANGELIST

Jose Henriquez turned to his Christian faith while he was underground, forming a prayer group that met several times a day and asking to have 33 bibles sent down the narrow supply passage.

Nevertheless, the 56-year-old father of twin daughters had one vice he hoped the time underground would cure.

Mr Herniquez' wife Hettiz Berrios was said to be happy when her husband asked authorities to send him food rather than cigarettes. "He's trying to stop puffing. ... Hopefully he'll do it," she said.

THE FOOTBALLER

Former Chilean national soccer player Franklin Lobos has never seen a bigger victory.

Mr Lobos, 53, briefly bounced a football on his foot and knee as he stepped from the capsule that carried him from the mine where he was trapped with 32 other men. Then he embraced relatives and President Pinera.

He is the only rescued man whose name was widely known in Chile before the disaster. He played for the Chilean team that qualified for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

He was the driver of a truck that takes miners to and from the mine and was in the mine with the group he ferries when the collapse occurred.



Timeline and the miners rescued

1. 12.04am - Florencio Avalos, 31, the second-in-command of the miners, chosen to be first because he was in the best condition.

2. 1.10am - Mario Sepulveda Espina, 40, who captivated Chileans with his engaging personality in videos sent up from underground.

3. 2.08am - Juan Illanes, 52, a married former soldier who urged his fellow miners to be disciplined and organised while trapped.

4. 3.09am - Carlos Mamani, 24, the lone Bolivian, started at the mine five days before the collapse. One of 11 children who emigrated because he could find work, he has been promised a house and a job from Bolivian President Evo Morales.

5. 4.10am - Jimmy Sanchez, at 19, the youngest miner and father of a months-old baby.

6. 5.34am - Osman Isidro Araya, 30, the father of three, had planned to quit the mine at the end of August because of the risk.

7. 6.21am - Jose Ojeda, 47, a widower with no children who has diabetes. Two of his nephews were on hand at the site to greet him.

8. 7.02am - Claudio Yanez, 34, a drill operator who requested cigarettes be sent down while awaiting rescue and expressed disgust at the nicotine patches he received instead.

9. 7.59am - Mario Gomez, at 63 is the oldest of the miners. He also is the most experienced, having first entered a mine shaft to work at the age of 12.

10. 8.52am - Alex Vega, 31, who is married with two children, had been saving to buy a house and move out of his parents' home. His father helped in rescue efforts - using a false name because officials prohibited relatives from doing the dangerous work.

11. 9.31am - Jorge Galeguillos, 55, was injured in at least two earlier mining accidents. He has 13 brothers and requires medication for hypertension. Officials have promised to help his son, who is a university student.

12. 10.11am - Edison Pena, who is 34 and married, was reportedly among the most depressed of the trapped men and asked rescuers to send down a photo of the sun. He tried to run every day for exercise.

13. 10.54am - Carlos Barrios, 27, is the father of a five-year-old boy. He is separated from his wife.

14. 11.30am - Victor Zamora, 34, was a car mechanic and labourer who has worked at the mine for five years. He sent up poems to his wife, who is pregnant, and is the father of a four-year-old boy. While underground, he complained of tooth pain.

15. 12.07pm - Victor Segovia, 48, kept a diary of life below, asking those above to send down more pencils and paper. He has five cildren, is an electrician and plays guitar.

16. 12.49pm - Daniel Herrera, 37, was a truck driver and taxi driver. Herrera is single; his mother and sister have been waiting for him at Camp Hope.

17. 1.38pm - Omar Reygadas, 56, helped organise life below ground and reportedly survived other collapses in the mine. A widower, he has six children, 14 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, including one born while he was trapped.

18. 2.49pm - Esteban Rojas, 44, proposed a church wedding "once and for all" in a message to the woman he married in a civil ceremony 25 years ago. They have three children.

19. 3.27pm - Pablo Rojas, 45, reportedly went to work at the mine six months ago to help pay university fees for his son, who is studying medicine. He is married.

20. 3.59pm - Dario Segovia, 48, is a lifelong miner whose father first took him underground at the age of eight. Twice married, he has three children from each marriage. He has worked at the mine for three months, drilling holes for dynamite. He has 12 brothers and sisters.

21. 4.31pm - Johnny Barrios Rojas, 50, worked for 25 years at the mine and served as the medic for the group because he had first aid training. Awaiting above are relationships that need healing as well: his wife and his lover met at Camp Hope.

22. 5.04pm - Samuel Avalos, 43, is married with three children. He had been working as a street vendor and got a job at the mine for more money.

23. 5.32pm - Carlos Bugueno, 26, found himself trapped alongside a childhood friend, Pedro Cortez. A passionate soccer fan, he asked to have game broadcasts piped below. Relatives said the former security guard went to work at the mine to earn money for a car and house.

24. 5.59pm - Jose Henriquez, 55, formed and led a prayer group while trapped and had friends send 33 small Bibles down the tiny supply hole. Chilean reports say that in January he helped save several miners who had passed out in the mine, apparently due to gas, and had to be rescued himself when he was overcome returning for another miner. Married with twin daughters, he has spent 33 years in the mines and survived a landslide on the surface in 1986.

25. 6.24pm - Renan Avalos, 29, is the brother of Florencio Avalos, the first man out. He had worked at the mine for five months.

26. 6.51pm - Claudio Acuna, 35, proposed to his girlfriend Fabiola Araya from below ground. He has two children.

27. 7.18pm - Franklin Lobos, 53, a former professional soccer player, drove the bus that carried the miners to work. Lobos was a midfielder on the Chilean teams La Serena, Iquique and Cobresal, and was on the national team that qualified for the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. He has two daughters.

28. 7.44pm - Richard Villaroel, 23, is returning to his wife, who is in the late stages of pregnancy.

29. 8.13pm - Juan Carlos Aguilar, 46, has worked as a miner since he was 19. He is married with two children.

30. 8.37pm - Raul Bustos, 40, a hydraulic engineer, was caught up in both of Chile's two recent tragedies. The tsunami caused by February's earthquake destroyed the shipyard where he worked so he journeyed north to work in the mine two months before he was trapped there. He would travel back 20 hours by bus to visit his wife and two children.

31. 9.01pm - Pedro Cortez, 25, an electrician, helped install the communications system used to talk back and forth with the surface. He lost a finger in an earlier mining accident. He and his wife are separated and have one daughter.

32. 9.28pm - Ariel Ticona, 28, was still awaiting rescue when his wife gave birth to their second daughter. They named her Hope. He worked with Mr Cortez to install the underground communications system.

33. 9.55pm - Luis Alberto Urzua, 54, shift foreman at the time of the collapse, is widely credited with helping the men survive by enforcing tight rations of their limited food, lights and other supplies. Speaking for the miners shortly after their discovery, he told Chilean president Sebastian Pinera: "We hope that all of Chile shows its strength to help us get out of this hell."

More info: 2010 Copiapó mining accident

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