Drilling to rescue Chilean miners to start soon

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A drilling operation to free 33 miners trapped half a mile underground in Chile will begin on Sunday or Monday.

The miners were trapped by an August 5 collapse, and rescuers established contact with them 17 days later by drilling a 6-inch-wide (15-centimetre-wide) hole to the shelter.

Rescuers are working to drill an escape tunnel that will be about 26ins (66cm) wide and could take weeks or months to complete.

The first video released of the 33 men trapped deep in a Chilean copper mine shows the men stripped to the waist and appearing slim but healthy, arm-in-arm, singing the national anthem and yelling "long live Chile, and long live the miners!".

Camping just outside the entrance to the mine, those waiting for the miners' return said they were elated after seeing their loved ones - and that the men appeared to be in better shape than thought.

The men made the video with a small camera sent down to them through a small emergency shaft drilled to their emergency shelter deep in the San Jose mine.

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