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Date: 14 Oct 2010
Title: Historic rescue completed
Pretoria - The last of the 33 trapped Chilean miners were rescued on Wednesday night after being entombed underground for 69 days.
The 33 miners, who were trapped since 5 August, were lifted out one by one in a capsule to the surface, after enduring 69 days of ordeal in a hot, humid shelter some 700 meters underground.
No one in history has been trapped so deep underground for so long and survived.
The atmosphere at the scene exploded when the 54-year old shift foreman Luis Urzua walked out of the capsule. Waves of horns, sirens and cheers sounded.
Chilean President Sebastian Pinera embraced the foreman and invited him to stand beside him to join the hundreds of others at the scene to sing the national anthem.
Praising the foreman as "a very good leader of the group," Pinera said: "We're going to thank everybody from the bottom of our heart."
Urzua responded with thanks to everybody who had participated in the rescue. "I am very proud of what you have done. I expect this never to happen again in Chile. ... I am proud of being a Chilean."
President Pinera said his government would strive to improve mine workers' safety, as well as safety in other areas such as agriculture.
Meanwhile, the South African government on Wednesday congratulated the Chilean authorities and Murray and Roberts for their role in the rescue.
"The resilience of the miners, the unwavering commitment, resilience and perseverance of all involved in the rescue effort deserves praise from everyone around the world.
"This rescue effort is commendable and should set a new standard of extra-ordinary measures that need to be taken to save the lives of those in distress throughout the world," government spokesperson Themba Maseko said, making special mention of the South African based Murray and Roberts for their role. - BuaNews/Xinhua