Drills Reach Trapped Miners In Chile

October 9, 2010 Updated Oct 9, 2010 at 9:56 AM EDT

By WKBW News


Surrounded by media, men work on a pipe used to be in touch with 33 trapped miners at the San Jose mine in Copiapo, Chile, Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2010. The miners, who have been trapped since the shaft they were working in collapsed on Aug. 5, were confirmed to be alive Sunday when they were reached by rescue teams via a small hole through which they could pass messages, supplies, air, and see the miners with a camera. (AP Photo/ Roberto Candia) Original Filename: Chile_Mine_Collapse_XRC120.jpg

October 9, 2010 Updated Oct 9, 2010 at 9:56 AM EDT

COPIAPO, CHILE - After 66 days, drills have broken through the hard rock and reach the 33-trapped miners nearly 2-thousand feet below the ground.

Word of the drill's success prompted cheers, tears and the ringing of bells by families in the nearby tent camp outside the mine.

Some who have kept a vigil since the August 5 disaster ran up a hill where 33 Chilean flags were planted, chanting and shouting with joy as a siren rang throughout "Camp Hope," confirming the breakthrough.

The "Plan B" drill won a three-way race against two other drills to carve a hole wide enough for an escape capsule to pull the miners out one by one.

The rescue team must now decide whether it's more risky to pull the miners through unreinforced rock, or to insert tons of heavy steel pipe into the curved shaft to protect the miners on their way up.