First three miners leave hospital

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The first group of 33 miners rescued from half a mile underground has been released from the hospital after just one day of observation and testing.

Thirty-four-year-old Edison Pena, 52-year-old Juan Illanes and 23-year-old Carlos Mamani were all released from Copiapo Hospital late on Thursday.

The men, who set a world record for survival underground, were in surprisingly good health considering that they were trapped in a wet, hot and dark tunnel for 69 days.

Edison Pena, who was the twelfth to be pulled from the mine, arrived at his house to a cheering crowd.

"I thought I would never return. That's why I'm crazy about this reception. Thank you very much. Thank you for believing that we were alive," he said, still wearing dark sunglasses to protect his eyes from the light.

In a complicated but flawless operation under Chile's far northern Atacama desert, the miners were hauled out one by one through 2,050 feet of rock in a metal capsule a little wider than a man's shoulders.

It took about 24 hours to pull out the 33 miners and six rescuers who had gone down the escape shaft to help the men get out. While most were physically well, experts said the most lasting damage could be emotional.

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