High Hopes for Chile Miners

An animated rendition of the rescue capsule for the mine. Chile Mine
Hope has never been higher at Camp Hope in Chile, where family members are waiting for the 33 miners trapped underground. Originally it was thought that they couldn't be rescued until Christmas. Now it looks like they could be pulled to the surface early next week.

Relatives cheered as mobile hospital units arrived Thursday morning. Rescue capsules, one of which will be used to bring the miners to the surface, are now on site. Sunglasses were sent down to the miners to protect eyes that have not seen sunlight in more than seven weeks.

Complete Coverage: Chile Mine Collapse

The rescue itself will be attempted using the shaft known as "Plan B," one of three being drilled and the closest to completion. The issue now is whether to line the shaft with pipe to both reinforce the hole and to reduce the possibility of the rescue capsule becoming jammed. But inserting protective casing would delay the rescue another eight to 10 days. There's also the risk that if something goes wrong during the reinforcement process, the rescue shaft could become blocked.

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The miners know they may be just a few days from freedom. They have been in regular contact and actually are doing heavy work below the mine, clearing 12 to 15 tons of rubble. They are on quite a structured schedule. They've divided themselves into three separate groups and have meals together at specific times as to when they sleeping and eating and even working on clearing rubble inside.

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Maria Segovia Rojo just wants her brother back. She's barely left the mine since the accident, and told us she's never lost faith.

"God does miracles and now we're about to rescue them," said Maria.

The rescue capsule is small -- as wide as a bicycle tire -- so the miners are on an exercise regime to keep trim. Inside the capsule are oxygen and a communication device.