good evening, america, welcome to a story for the ages, playing playing out in real-time. he eyes of the planet focused on this ti on this tiny slice of chilean desert where moments ago the irst of the 33 trapped miners was lifted to was lifted to safety and embraced by h embraced by his tearful family. one is one is up. 32 to go. right now. all happening right now. tonigh tonight on ""nightline"." freed from freed from the tomb. we are live from the e are live from the san jose mine in chile for one
mine in chile for one of the most extraordinary rescue attempts in modern history. brothers below. they have been trapped underground for an unprecedented 68 days. 68 days. each miner has a new mumber. e.e greatest rescue. a special extended a special extended edition of .nightline" starts right now. >> announcer: fr >> announcer: from the global esources of abc news with cynthia cynthia mcfadden and terry moran and bill nd bill weir live from the san jose mine in jose mine in chile. this is "nightline," october 12, 2010. good even good evening, i'm bill weir, welcome to a welcome to a most amazing scene out here. out here. it has the feel almost of a soccer party or a festival, but there is still a lot of anxiety in the air because the drama has just begun. fso farun. but fso far it seems triumphant or the first 17 of the 68 days the men the men were trapped in the
bowels of the earth, bowels of the earth, they were tosumed dead. their will to survive launch aid feat of engineering including sigh y scientists, collective good will of a nation and continent, really. desert is just but this anxious party in the desert is just beginning. not including the rescuers going down in the escape pod there are still 32, sick, stressed men spirits are th. but at the moment, spirits are lifted with the proof that what seemed impossible can be done. [ applause ] [ applause ] or locals in the desert and supporters supporters around the world, the arrival of flo arrival of florencio avalos silva, the silva, the first of 33 to breathe r.eathe fresh air. his ride t his ride to the surface the
first of 33 potential sirens and chee heers and would be the culminat culmination of a grateful effort, diggers, effort, diggers, doctors, psycholo psychologists, engineers around the globe. his escape capsu his escape capsule, built by nasa, refined by asa, refined by chile engineers, c engineers, called phoenix, after the mythical bird that rises ern, movedshes. at 5:30 eastern, moved to the thepe hatch. ts tour later the chilean president inspects the creation. shaped like a 13-foot cigar tube, designed tube, designed to fit in a hole the size of he size of a bicycle tire and travel a half travel a half mile to miners belo below with minimal friction. at at 7:05 they announce a two hour delay in the elay in the extraction launch, two more hou two more hours of agony for families at camp hope, two more hours of reflection for avalos silva, deemed silva, deemed most technically savvy and mentally and
physically fit. case the worst he was chosen to rise first in case the worst happened. a rock could fall. wedge the pod in the shaft. a cable could get pulled up. or the rig that pulled the cable face,overheat. there is the psychological toil, cameras trained at his face, watching for signs of stress or panic. among the physical weries below, eye damage caused by damage. partially collapsed lungs from shallow breathing and fungal and skin dis skin diseases because of the extended time extended time in 90 degree humid temperatures temperaturesch to minimize the drinking salt the miners were drinking salt ater to alleviate nausea, possible possible fainting during the ascent. ascent. what astronauts what astronauts call a fluid lo loading, and given medication to prevent panicking on the way up. that ride is risky. at 8:30 p.m., a first test. the empty he empty capsule is lowered into the nt.o the shaft to great xcitement. rescue workers are inspired to sing a popular national chant
over and over at over and over at soccer games. come on, come on, come on, chileans. toleans. it means tonight we have to win. ut they have changed that last line, we have line, we have to get them out. this as his as buses unloaded family members at the members at the scene preparing o reunite with trapped loved ones ones amid balloons and songs. 20 minutes 20 minutes later the capsule returns to the surface. the first test successful. ♪ ♪ even even chilean president pinera is moved to song moved to song in a nearby tent where family members anxiously wait. then the pulley wheel is then the pulley wheel is in sight, again. a welcome sight, rescue pod is owered into the ground for a second time. second time. this time to check communication devices. the test succeeds. and at and at 10:17 eastern time, a
rescuer, manuel escuer, manuel gonzalez gets a good luck good luck wish from his president. president. climbs into the pod. and is lowered into th and is lowered into the earth. after fter a ten-minute descent, gonzalez reaches gonzalez reaches the cavern and is greeted by giddy miners. e is the first new human they have had conta have had contact with in ten weeks. their long the sign that their long ordeal among t to end. gonzalez is among the rescuers who will now stay down in the mine, sending each man up, as quickly and safely as possible, until they have all come home. and i am nd i am joined now by abc news jeffrey kaufmann c hffrey kaufmann covering latin ameri to be standing
you have been down here, commuting back and forth to the mine. and we are fortunate to be standing here watching this happen. it is just unbelievable. >> it is incredible. and watching the first miner come up, i was down there in the crowd. imagine. and it really was the most, i think the most that you could country has won something forget super bowls, gold cups, olympic gold. world cheering the this country has won something more. reporters crying as these families, has the entire world cheering them on. you can feel, i was watching reporters crying as they were telling their audience about his. hospital >> florencio avalos, they have plans to take each man to the arspital for observation, ngrried father of two. you saw his little boy, greet him in tears, so heartwrenching. a guy who has been working the camera. they don't seen a lot of video come up from his brother is still down which caused angst with his parents. there. they don't get to see his face on the videos now. his brother is still down there. >> still has the a brother down they actually really all incredible.
not slated to come up for quite they were toy will be separated. actually the men were not eager to be taken to the hospital. they actually really all wanted 3 stay here and wait for the last one to come up. emain her persuaded. there isn't room for them all to stay. addition of >> this is a deliberate process. takes about an hour between each rescue. we'll set the scene. dis could go on for the next 36 ours. sigh tinyast. but we were going to remain here throughout this extended addition of "nightline." jeffrey will be alongside. talk to people on the ground. we'll set the scene. we can't begin to describe the sights and smells of this tiny corner of chile tonight where there is so much hope and exuberance. we will be right back. you're ae where you don't get thrown by curve balls. ♪ this is the age of knowing
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welcome bac welcome back to northern chile where we are watching something that really hasn't been seen since the apollo mission. >> i think that is the only parallel, apollo 13, april, 1970. people are asking has it ever been done before. there is no playbook. you are looking here now. the second rescue worker has come down. this just happened. this is unfolding, bill, exactly as they planned. they had to write the rules, write the engineer the science as they went along these last seven weeks since these men were found. >> with 33 lives on the line. >> 33 lives on the line. it is incredible. and they had to take control. everything they sent down, food,
clothing, medicine had to be 4 inches or smaller. >> the first men up, fittest psychologically, emotionally, physically in case something went awry. the next one up is mario sepulveda, the narrator, cast of characters you came to know from up here. >> that's right. there is a sense, having been here, knowing their wives, daughters, families. you feel like you know the men, though you have never actually met them. they really are an extraordinary cast of characters. >> together the miners have been a living testament of survival. not only has their nearly 70 day ordeal captivated the world, so have the individual stories. a story played out in front of billions with no shortage of melodrama and characters all set against the backdrop of the epic rescue effort. nothing this deep or complex has ever been tried before. among the men who have been waiting 2,300 feet below the
surface for this night, heavy equipment operator, mario sepulveda. he has become a bit of celebrity across chile where he has become known as just the presenter. taking command in front of the camera, he narrated the video tour of their subterranean prison, now apparently several tv stations are waiting for him to surface to bid for his new found talents. just hours after the miners were found in august, we met liliana ramirez, wife of mario go metz. the frame held a letter he sent her. dear, lila, i am okay, thank god. i hope to be patient. gomez has worked in the mine since he was 12, his lungs damaged from inhaling silicone dust. yesterday we met lila again. i am anxious she says, and happy, happy this nightmare is coming to an end. her husband will be one of the first pulled out tonight. down below the men developed a make shift tribal order. they divided themselves into
three groups. the 105, the ramp, and refuge. named after the parts of the mine they were sleeping. they didn't compete. they rotated responsibilities. some even found themselves in key roles. johnny barios armed with a to months of medical training acting as the medic giving medical advice. when he gets pulled up he has answering to do. it was because of his mine collapse that his wife found out for five years he had a mistress. the sordid details of their love triangle made international news. it could be coming to an end. his wife had enough. >> at one point he sent a letter that i read two days ago. it said i would look to have both of you there when i come out. and the lady says i love myself too much. i have learned a lot about myself. in these two months. i am not going to be humiliated in public. >> for other miners it seems it had the opposite effect. one man, esteban rojas, pro
posed. they couldn't afford a church wedding. he wrote her a letter saying when get out let's buy the dress, we'll get married. claudio cortes had the opposite problem. his girlfriend reap fused to marry him. all that has changed she told him, claudio, i accept your proposal. i thought he would say no. he said okay my love. we'll get married. this man will be the second to last man to get out of the mine. he will have to wait to meet his brand new daughter. his wife elizabeth was 8 months pregnant when the mine collapsed. i have been trying to remain calm she said last month. it its not easy to be pregnant in a situation like this. i had to do it for our other children and for me. when the big moment arrived it was recorded on a video camera so he could watch it deep under ground. while the men organize themselves underground. a different order popped up
above ground, outside the mine gate. they call this camp hope. let me show you one of the areas where the families have spent the last 69 days. this is just a crowded area, base of the mine where they split up tents. you can seat chilean flag. strength of the miners. chile without miners isn't chile. over here some of the families have been living. you see some of the kids await the end of the day.crayons. balloons. when i was here, you could sit down, talk to people about the hardship and horror. the youngest in the mine, is jimmy sanchez. he only started working in the san jose mine to months ago after quitting school to support his pregnant girlfriend. his father juan building an addition, he said among all the miners, jimmy is most emotionally distraught. he was afraid he was going to die of hunger he said. he has been having nightmares down there and crying himself to
sleep. finally, there is 54-year-old luis urzua, shift foreman who became the fearless leader. he managed to get his men to work together during their almost ten weeks underground and managed to keep them sane. >> does it surprise you that he took charge? >> the guy in charge is the boss. >> urzua parcelled out the meager meals. each man was allowed 2 teaspoons of tuna, half a glass of milk and half a biscuit every two days. that may have been what saved their lives. like a captain of the ship, luis urzua will wait until all his men are lifted to safety before he takes the last ride up. out of the san jose mine sometime tomorrow. and in addition to the engineering feat of just digging this hole, getting this capsule built, getting the men out, we have the amazing satellite camera technology that the whole world can gather around for a
moment of not natural disaster, but -- >> interesting point. chile had to on the fly invent technology to rescue the men. but they didn't anticipate this would become one of the biggest international media events of all time. it is extraordinary. we are here in this moonscape of a desert. with more than 1,000 journalists from 33 countries and now we are watching the second of the miners come up. mario sepulveda in the story of mine that ran. a gregarious guy. sure to be one of the most popular of the miners. they all face a life of celebrity from now on. >> that's it. the guys went underground, 68, humble, obscure men, making $400 on average. they have become heroes, invited to palaces, books, trips, movie offers. psychological strain of that. >> in talking to people.
it is frightening. we are familiar with stories back home, won big lotteries the dream of being a millionaire. of course they didn't have the ability to, cope with it. it destroyed their lives. it will be difficult for the men. they're going to need a lot of help and hopefully have the strength to turn to people for guidance. because the glare of the international spotlight is, going to be blinding for them. and could be crippling too. >> easy for us to slip into the exuberance of the moment and kid this a done deal. a fait accompli. we are just beginning. there is so much that could go wrong in the next 36 hours. >> you are right. we shouldn't be cocky. but i think, the fact it worked. we had one miner come up. two rescuers go down. now we have got a second miner going in. about to come up. i think we can be cautiously optimistic. certainly, encouraged by what we are seeing here. about to go up now. >> we have so much more. we'll keep you up to date on the minute by minute.
there he is. he is headed. >> and there he goats. fresh air in the fly wheel. which has become a symbol of this amazing amazing accomplishment. >> the capsule, the colors of the chilean flag. [ applause ] >> they're applauding. >> yeah, there as well. we'll follow this. we have so much more to share with you. here on this extended edition of "nightline" from san jose mine, chile. stay with us. if you fight to sleep in the middle of the night, why go one more round ? you don't need a rematch, but a rethink. with lunesta. lunesta is thought to interact with gaba receptors associated with sleep. lunesta helps you get the restful sleep you need. lunesta has some risk of dependency. when taking lunesta, don't drive or operate machinery until you feel fully awake. walking, eating, driving or engaging in other activities while asleep without remembering it the next day have been reported. abnormal behaviors may include aggressiveness, agitation, hallucinations, or confusion.
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>> and we are back at the chilean mine rescue where the second of the 33, in chile is in the basket, in the escape pod on his way to surface as spontaneous courtship dances which are representative of so much joy here on the scene at camp hope are just breaking out there. it has been interesting domestically. there have been so many different layers, both the sour and the sweet for these men. you have heard about, one gentleman whose wife discovered of his lover when the collapse happened. that marriage crumbled. but for other less dramatic relationships there have been anniversaries celebrated at either ends of that escape shaft. a man became a father for the first time. another is expecting a child at any moment. abc's john quinones spent time with the families who have been under so much stress these last ten weeks. john, what were they worried most about?
>> you know, bill, it is quite an amazing inspiring story of perseverance and endurance, so emotional. i spent a week down there in copiapo, with the families, among them, maria silva, mother of two sons stranded down there. maria told me she had all right faith in the world her boys would come out safely. as luck would have it. tonight, one of the sons, florencio silva the first to come out. maria reunited. the other son expected in a to hours. i spent time with the children of the miners. among them two remarkable #-year-old girl whose have been waiting 68 days to see their fathers. they are the littlest victims of this tragedy. the survivors above ground. 8-year-old arlen, who can barely contain herself when she sees
her father, claudio, papa. i love you so much. and i am waiting for you with tons and tons of hugs and kisses. and there is 8-year-old carol a carolyna. every day she boarded a bus for the hour long ride from her home to the mine. to be closer to her father. renan avalos. >> he is the most wonderful man in world she tells me. i'm going to wrap myself around him, she says, and rock back and forth:ba forth, back and forth like a giant swing. and i will never let him go. >> those girls' fathers are expected to be out within the next to hours. tonight we are also following some of the wives of the miners. as they have prepared to see their husbands, we're told that they spent the day getting their hair done, buying new outfits.
i understand they're acting like teenaged girls, bill. >> many second honeymoons on tap there as well. but it is amazing to think about the children, missing their fathers. you go away for the day to work. and go away for so many weeks. john, thank you for the glimpse into the family life there. well we have the second miner on his way up to the surface. it takes 12, 15 minutes or so to make the trip from the half-mile-deep cavern where they spent the last six weeks to the surface. we are 8:00 into the second rescue there. he is mario sepulveda. had his 40th birthday in the mine. so 33 little pieces of birthday cake were sent down the bore hole to celebrate the you can see they're celebrating on surface here tonight. the chilean mine rescue continues.