SF Chilean Consulate Celebrates Miners' Freedom

Wednesday, Oct 13, 2010  |  Updated 5:17 PM PDT
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SF Chilean Consulate Celebrates Miners' Freedom

AP

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The Bay Area's Chilean community is breathing a sigh of relief as 33 miners are being rescued today after being trapped underground for more than two months, the consul general at the Chilean Consulate in San Francisco said.

You can watch the live feed here.

The miners have been trapped more than 2,000 feet underground since a cave-in sealed off a gold and copper mine in Chile on Aug. 5.

As of shortly before 3:30 p.m., 26 of the 33 miners had been rescued, according to Orlando Ortega, consul general at the Chilean Consulate in San Francisco.

"This is a very happy end," Ortega said. "Normally that kind of thing finishes not in a good way, but this is different."

He said the consulate has received "a lot of moral support" since the story of the trapped miners made international headlines back in August.

About 3,000 Chileans live in the Bay Area, and 5,000 live in Northern California. Many have called the consulate looking for updates on the situation, Ortega said.

He said that by the end of the day, rescuers hope to have all 33 miners above ground and safe.

Ortega thanked everyone who has been "following this and expressing their support." He also thanked the U.S. government for the "strong support they have provided to the Chilean government" during the past couple of months.

"This is something that has been done thanks to the support and assistance of very many people," he said.

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