Chile rescue capsule lowered into shaft for tests

October 13, 2010 03:53

SAN JOSE MINE, Chile — Rescuers in Chile on Tuesday lowered a still-empty escape capsule into the shaft that will finally provide a way out for 33 trapped miners.

Last-minute adjustments had to be made to systems that will enable communication between the miners and the surface during their trips.

President Sebastian Pinera met with the rescuers who will soon descend into the mine, and he patted the side of the capsule, standing in the clouds of steam rushing up from the mine where the men have endured sauna-like conditions for 69 days.

A huge spool of thick steel cable is holding the capsule. After the tests, they plan to send rescuers down and then first miners up. Mining Minister Laurence Golborne still hopes to have the first miner out before midnight.

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