tv CNN Presents CNN October 16, 2010 8:00pm-9:00pm EDT
continue to vigorously enforce government drug laws even if the measure passes next month. look at that, amazing pictures there, a massive drilling machine broke through rock to complete the tunnel though it will not be fully operational until about 2017, that's the estimated completion date. the tunnel is 34 miles long and will connect northern and southern europe. it will be used by high-speed rail to service passengers from zurich, switzerland to milan, italy, an important business and tourist link. up next, a special a.c. special, countdown to rescue. >> good evening, thanks for watching, tonight a look inside the rescue that riveted the world and brought 33 miners back from a dark underground dungeon that might just as easily become
their tomb. they were alive 13 days before the rescuers reached them. down below what might have turned into lord of the flies chaos, instead became a 33-man democracy, with miners organizering, choosing leaders, and voting on who would be the last to leave. in the hour ahead, we're going to take you inside that race, moment by moment, challenges and set backs, how they were overcome, the mechanical and human efforts that were possible. the incredible sight of those men emerging one by one from weeks of darkness. we're going to start at the
beginning with tom foreman. >> reporter: august 5, 2:00 in the afternoon, 2,200 feet under ground, a shaft collapses in the san jose copper and gold mine. 33 miners are somewhere behind the rubble, their condition unknown. chilean president promises every effort to rescue them. but there are complications. august 12, the miners' families have set up camp on the surface to keep watch on the drilling. hours pass and officials say there's little chance the men survived. relatives would later say they argued with that assessment from the start. >> i always told the media every time i was ask, i know my husband is fine, i know he's alive and i know he's keeping up all the others in the mine because that's the kind of person my husband is. >> reporter: franklin's sister lobo never loses faith for a
minute. >> i got a call at home and they said franky is gone and i said no, he's alive and god is going to get him out of there. >> reporter: so even as authorities hint that the search may need to wind down, the families are sending a clear message, keep looking. >> 33 men have been trapped under ground since august 5. their families prayed they were alive, those prayers have been answered. >> reporter: august 22, a stunning break through. an exploratory drill hitting a chamber deep in the earth and comes up with a note attached. all 33 of us are fine in the shelter. >> we are located in the northern part of chile about 250 miles north of santiago we were out there 17 days, we didn't know anything about them. we made contact with the shelter, the shelter was located about 2,250 feet below the
surface, and when it came out with a piece of paper it had a message on it, it said, we are all right, we are in the shelter, 33 of us. >> translator: i'm very proud of my brother, he's very strong and that's why he has been able to achieve this, to remain alive for 11 days. >> reporter: rescuers celebrate too knowing that technology and team work have produced a near miracle. >> all of you who brought us coffee, who brought us food, who made the logistics of all this possible. this is what brought this about. this country never gave up and we miners, we never will give up. ♪ >> reporter: a phone line is dropped down and rescuers above
hear from what seems like beyond the grave, the miners singing the national anthem. soon a video camera is lowered and the first ghostly pictures emerge. [ speaking spanish ] >> reporter: the miners through strict disciplined rationing have survived 13 days on four days of food. hello to my family, my children, my wife, my mom, one man says, before he breaks into tears. thanks so much from all of my heart, another adds in the ghostly darkness. there have established a chain of command, there's time for work, for exercise, for
relaxation, the team spirit has clearly kept spirits up. real soon we'll be out of here yet another assures those above. but real soon runs smack into reality, engineers studying the chamber where the miners are trapped have reached a daunting conclusion, it may take up to four months to bring them out. up on this barren hillside, relatives have planted a flag for each of the miners trapped under ground. 32 chilean flags, one boliian flag. carl the first drill that came through and the miners attached a note to it, and we have some pictures of the note, the president of chile held up the note. what did the note say and did the people who were drilling
know that they were alive or were they just kind of seeing what would happen? >> no, they had no knowledge or any facts after all this period, 17 days and the difficulties of sending the probe into the mine, one of the reasons of the difficulty of putting that probe in the mine and locating the refuge area is that the mine map supplied by the mining company was so out of date, they didn't know where the refuge was, according to those maps, so really it was sticking a whole series of different probes into that hillside, the proverbial needle in the haystack, so they didn't know if the men were alive, so what they did was bang, bang, bang on the bottom of that drill, they painted the tip of the drill red and they wrote a note, that said, we're
in the refuge, the 33 of us, we are well and when that got to the surface was the most miraculous message to the rescuers on top, they wouldn't believe that all 33 would have made it and they didn't believe they would be able to hit the refuge. and there was a second note attached to that drill as well. from mario gomez, his wife, dear lila, i'm well, thanks to god, we will make it out of here. >> carl, when you first arrived, how argorganized was it? >> reporter: the families were very organized because they had been there already 17 days standing vigil for these miners, it was really the family that drove the whole initial phase of this rescue operation because they clearly said to the government, they clearly said to the mine company, you will give us back our loved ones dead or alive.
if they are dead, you will burrow down and bring their bodies back and if they are alive, you will find them. so they had organized themselves physically into one large group. of course they were living under very rudimentary conditions. >> and for the miners down below, those first 17 days, that's really the most extraordinary of all, because it was completely, they were left up to themselves. they didn't know if anyone was going to be able to find them, they didn't know if anybody knew they were alive or if everybody just assumed they were dead and they really kind of organized themselves. they started rationing food and they really before responsible for their own survival? >> reporter: those 17 days were the most key and we're hearing that the miners have some kind of pact of silence so we're not hearing full details, but the
details that i have heard so far from those miners, they had 120 cans of tuna between 33 of them. that meant that they rationed out half a plastic spoonful of tuna per miner a day. they organized themselves into work groups, but they couldn't see a hand in front of their faces those first 17 days, it was so dim. and louise urzua decided his only leadership quality would be to tell the truth to these men. and once he said, i'm going to tell you straight, we may make it, but it's more than likely we're going to die. although the men appreciated the honesty, but a couple of the men didn't get up for a day.
but he told the men that they may make it out of there they may not. so the first 17 days they were aware, if they find us, they find us, if not, not. >> carl, we appreciate all your reporting these last weeks and month. the first moment when the rescuers heard a bang down below. >> that's something we didn't want to hear because we still hadn't punched into the mine, so it was definitely a heart stopper, we're thinking, something goes wrong in the last minute. ♪ [ engine revs, tires screeching ] we give to you the all-new volkswagen jetta. we have one more surprise for you. fifteen-thousand nine-hundred neunzig dollar? [ sobbing ] [ camera shutters clicking ]
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story. the miners may be stuck until christmas. how would they survive let alone thrive as they did? >> reporter: august 31st, after a message of support from the pope and a careful review of plans, tunnelling to the chamber begins. three tunnels will be drilled simultaneously, dug simply plans a, b and c. a key piece of machinery, that will be used to drill a hole down to the shelter 700 meters into the ground where the miners are is now being moved into place. >> reporter: plan a relies on a drill used to pierce ventilation shafts, plan b uses a drill digging water wells and come in from an angle. and plan c will use a drill from oil exploration. experts from around the world have been called to consult on the engineering and the welfare
of the miners. >> this is an operation that's probably unprecedented in scope. never have so many been trapped for so long and so deeply. >> the miners themselves are apprised of the rescue plans and approve. we are more calm in the video you sent us, everything upstairs is exactly the way we imagined it. september 6, a problem, the b drill which seems to be making the best progress breaks and must be repaired. >> we are taking action because of the problems that we had with plan b, but everything is on schedule right now. >> reporter: throughout the month, the waiting and drilling going on. electricity and lights are fed down to the men who have lived in utter darkness except for occasional use of their helmet lamps. through the small bore holes, mail is sent from loved ones above, clean clothing is pushed down, oxygen, water as well.
the miners have ask for a chilean flag and some religious objects including a crucifix. concern over their health persists. many have lost weight and they're sending messages about their struggle. >> they are not sleeping well and they are in some way depressed. >> i want to eat so many things, i'm hungrier than ever. all these days have been dro dreaming about my mom cooking for me. >> reporter: all in all, they show remarkable resilience. i want to say thank you to all our families who had the courage not to abandon us. we know what you have done. we're calm down here, conditions are not that good, but we know we will make it out. september 26th, as if to prove
it, the capsule designed to bring the men up through which ever bore hole is done first arrives. it is red, white and blue, the colors of the chilean flag, it is called the fenix. >> it's rebirth. we expect we will have these miners out of this mine, is a sort of rebirth and a new life. >> reporter: october 1, everything speeds up. officials unexpectedly announce the rescue which many thought might take until christmas is now slated for the second half of the month. october 9, word comes that drill b is baring down on the miners. there's now sharp concern that the drill could cause a general collapse in the chamber. the final moments are nerve-racking. then victory. the path it has cut is narrow, twisting and will need to be
shored up with steel pipe, for the miners, it is golden. and three days later, the first rescuer steps into the capsule and descends. >> joining us now is one of the men responsible for punching that rescue down into the mine faster than anyone could hope. jeff hart knows drilling and knows life and death. his last game was in afghanistan. i spoke to him moments after the first miner was brought to the surface. congratulations, what was it like for you to see this first man brought out alive after you had been working on this and your colleagues around the clock to make sure that happens? >> we worked real long and hard on that and to actually see that capsule come through the first time through the hole that we drilled is just unbelievable. we're all kind of in disbelief that we're part of it. >> you had more than a part, and your colleagues did as well. you guys were working around the clock. there were three different
drills, plan a, b and c, you were plan b, you actually started later but you broke through first. i heard you said this is the most difficult drill you have worked on, why is it so tough? >> the strata here is very difficult to drill, it's very abrasive, it's extremely hard, it's got broken parts in it. and so it eats up bits. we had a hard time with the angle, keeping the bushings in the bits and we just had issues. but together as a team, everybody just kind of came together and we made this thing work. and it's an awesome feeling. >> and were you manning the drill when it actually broke through, when it actually reached the miner? >> yes, sir, i was. >> what was that feeling like? i mean did you actually -- could you tell that it had gotten that close? >> you know, we did, we stopped 2 1/2 meters shy, just so we could make sure the miners could
actually go down and make sure our depths are correct, they did over the phone tell us it is 2 1/2 meters, so drilling the last couple of meters is obviously nerve-racking. we could still have a failure at that point and lose the hole. so until you're actually in the line, it's not over. so, yeah, we had a very nerve-racking couple of meters there and then in the last six inches, we had something around the rig pop. everybody's ask us about that, we still today don't know what that was. >> i heard you described it that you thought your heart almost stopped? >> well, i tell you, that's exactly what it was, because that was what we didn't want to hear is something like that because we still hadn't punched through into the mine. and so it was definitely a heart stopper, we're thinking, man, something goes wrong in the last minute, but it ended up, we watched the video that the miners had for us come through
into the mine and everything worked out well. >> you're a hero not only to the people there, but to all the people that have been watching, you and your colleagues. when we come back, the rescue pod and choosing a worker to make that first unknown journey into the earth, the man who would be the first into the mine and a day later, the very last man out. >> good luck. good luck, manuel. imagine you're at the beach. imagine you're at the beach. good luck, my brother. good luck, good luck, manolo. ng. then something crunchy, then something new --
such a dramatic moment. rescuer manuel gonzalez being lowered into theess cape shaft. it happened at 10:19 eastern time. he was the first of six rescuers who descend into that darkness. until that moment, the escape capsule had been tested unmanned and the tests had gone well. but there are no guarantees in any rescue operation. the world waited with fingers crossed and what we saw minutes later was truly extraordinary.
here's gary tuchman. >> reporter: 68 days after the collapse of the san jose mine, the beginning of the end of the saga is now clearly in sight. the world gasps in disbelieve that the images more than 2,000 feet under ground, it's the first time anyone outside the immediate rescue team has seen live video of the miners. there are cheers and hugs for the first rescuer, manuel gonzalez. he is the first person to have physical contact with the miners since august. the men appear in good shape, most of them in their underwear and shirtless in the 80-degree heat of the mine. 31-year-old florencio avalos switches places with gonzalez. up above, an anxious quiet falls over the rescue workers and families. there's also now a nervous silence among the 32 miners still under ground.
>> we have been told this should take about 15 to 17 minutes for him to be brought up. but the wheel seems to be moving quicker than the wheel when they went down to get the miners. what's amazing, anderson is this, this is the ultimate live shot. i got to tell you, this reminds me of when i was 8 years old watching neil armstrong step on the moon for the first time, that's the kind of awe we have here. >> reporter: after 15 agonizing minutes, the capsule finally reaches the surface. it's now 11:11 p.m. eastern time. in nearby copiapo, pandemonium. avalos appears to be in good physical condition. rescuers feared the miners would become dizzy during the long, bumpy ride, but avalos walks out
of the capsule unaided, wearing unglasses to protect his eyes from the rescue lights. his family members, crowd him with joy on his return. he also hugs chilean president and other rescue workers before being wheeled into a nearby medical facility. during those long months of isolation, avalos was the cameraman filming video of the miners to send up to their families on the surface. those families even while celebrating avalos' return soon
start to wait for the other miners being brought up in the capsule. [ speaking in native language ] >> florencio avalos was the cameraman that we have been seeing for a couple of weeks and that he was in good health. but nobody realized just how good health he seemed to be in. >> reporter: no, it was amazing. we didn't know what to expect because these men had been under ground for almost ten weeks and the cage opened and he got out and he looked joyous, he looked refreshed and he was so ecstatic, and his little son was there with tears coming out of his eyes. it was just an amazing moment and we realized that this is
going to be an incredible day or two, we didn't know the time, of these amazing emotional reunions that we wouldn't get tired of watching. >> did they send up two more experienced members before they september sent up the stronger members. >> they didn't know how the fenix would react. they did test it without human beings, a mine rescuer went down in it, but they weren't 100% sure what would happen when the miners went up in it. >> i don't think the miners got the recognition that they deserve. that's the one thaing that we didn't know about, if the -- they were meant to be ready for the ride up. it was nice, we covered the 33 men coming up, and that was a very happy moment, but then we
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encouraging people to get out to vote. dan patrick urged people not to let people take control of congress and not to take this election for granted. about 3 million cable customers in the new york area are missing a lot of their favorite programs because of a dispute between news corps and cable vision. a similar dispute over fees has led news corp to pull some of its programming off of dish network. she was america's favorite tv mom during the golden age of television, barbara billingsley from leave it to beaver has died. leave it to beaver was a hit in the late '50s and early '60s. billi ingsley played the role wh class and a certain amount of humor. the actress was 94 years old.
when florencia avalos stepped out of that capsule, one miner, safely outside breathing fresh air for the first time, making everybody believe it could work for everybody. 32 more miners still waiting a half mile under ground. would their nerves hold steady, would the escape capsule hold up? they did and it did. here's tom foreman. >> reporter:. mario sepulveda, rose out of the earth, hugged his wife and then embraced his whole country. i was with god and the devil he said, god won.
the long night ended for the youngest miner, jimmy sanchez, 19, for the only foreigner, boliviay carlos mamani. at 63, mario gomez, the oldest was the first freed in the new dawn. he kissed his wife and prayed. so did others. esteban rojas trapped with two cousins, ask his wife to renew their wedding vows while below, she said yes.
at last, the six rescuers who descended to help were brought up. the first one in was the last one out. manuel gonzalez waved and bowed to the camera so far below, then rode up to a tumultuous celebration. then a talk with the president about the lessons of the disaster, the rescue, and the hope for the future. i hope we have learned from this and that chilean mining will be different, he said, and hope that things will be done correctly, that things will be done right. this is what i want.
>> just amazing moments. up next, how they did it, while trapped a half mile under ground and 17 days before anyone even knew they were alive. up next what it takes mentally to endure man versus wild. >> the hardest thing to do for a survivor is not knowing if anyone's going to reach you, if anyone's looking for you, those are real hard emotions to deal with. ld be fatal. but plavix helps save lives. plavix, taken with other heart medicines goes beyond what other heart medicines do alone, to provide greater protection against heart attack or stroke and even death, by helping to keep blood platelets from sticking together and forming dangerous clots.
ask your doctor if plavix is right for you. protection that helps save lives. [ female announcer ] certain genetic factors and some medicines such as prilosec reduce the effect of plavix leaving you at greater risk for heart attack and stroke. your doctor may use genetic tests to determine treatment. don't stop taking plavix without talking to your doctor as your risk of heart attack or stroke may increase. people with stomach ulcers or conditions that cause bleeding should not use plavix. taking plavix alone or with some other medicines, including aspirin, may increase bleeding risk, so tell your doctor when planning surgery. tell your doctor all medicines you take, including aspirin, especially if you've had a stroke. if fever, unexplained weakness or confusion develops, tell your doctor promptly. these may be signs of ttp, a rare but potentially life-threatening condition, reported sometimes less than 2 weeks after starting plavix. other rare but serious side effects may occur.
[ speaking in native language ] >> that's an electrician in the mine, the 27th miner to emerge. he's a former professional soccer player. no doubt they wanted to make sure his skills were still up to par. one of the first rescuers to reach the miners, manuel gonzalez, we didn't know we were going to get video images of that, but there it was, it popped up on the computer screen.
>> those miners first contact with a human being from the outside world, first direct contact for the first time in two months. gary, so many amazing moments during this rescue as you have covered it. what really stands out for you? >> reporter: what stands out for me is when the first miner, florencio avalos made it to the top. the reason it was so significant is because we weren't 100% sure that this would be successful. it was very nerve-racking. once we knew that -- the capsule started moving, we watched the wheel turn, and we watched the rope being pulled, we knew it would take 15 to 17 minutes for
florencio to make it to the top. but then time went by so smoothly. we saw this man in the save, but it made us realize that it didn't need to be as tense, the 32 miners made it successfully out. >> i sort of felt watching television throughout the day, i felt bad for the miners, excitement for some of the people around the world had waned. but there, it seemed like there was equal enthusiasm for everybody who came out. >> reporter: it was really incredible because we were watching it from a perch where we could eyeball the situation from about 100 feet away. each and every time a rescue occurred, there were tvs about
five feet away from where we were standing and we would gather around the tvs when we weren't on and everyone watched with equal interest and reporters. we find of forgot we were reporters, we were just people watching it and we were caught up in it each and every time. >> gary, appreciate it, thanks. of course the story is far from over, 33 men and their families have begun their lives again, begun them anew, some of the miners say. there's going to be a lot more stories to come. thanks for watching. _-_-_