***LIVE BLOG BELOW***
Rescue efforts to bring 33 miners trapped underground to the surface have been successful, with the last of the miners being pulled up late Wednesday night.
The miners had been trapped underground for more than two months. Efforts to surface them took place on an individual basis using a specially-built cage.
When the 33 miners were determined to be alive in late August, it was said that it could take up to four months to get them all out alive.
One of the trapped miners, 19-year-old Jimmy Sánchez, wrote an emotional letter to a relative just days ago.
Live updates will continue to flow below, so keep checking back for the latest information. A big thanks to HuffPost's Roberto Alamos Moreno (@ralamosm) for keeping us updated on the local news as it plays out in Antofagasta, Chile.
70 days later, Chile's long national nightmare is over.
All miners and rescuers are up. They left behind a camera, but don't expect to see anybody going back down there.
A doctor from Copiapo Hospital tells TVN (Chile's state TV channel) that the miners are no longer using sunglasses as their eyes have adjusted. They are eating normally and it seems they have only lost fat, 10-13kg each, not muscle. Their protein state is better when they entered the mine, thanks to all the care they've received.
Thousands of people are celebrating in Plaza Italia in Santiago, Chile's capital.Twitter user @alejandrohertz posted this picture of the Plaza Italia celebrations via his Blackberry:
President Piñera symbolically received the "shift" from Luis Urzúa, the last miner to come up.
The exchange as per State TV in Chile:
Luis Urzúa: "I give you the shift, President, and I expect this won't happen again... I'm proud of being Chilean."
President Piñera: "Señor Luis Urzúa, I receive the shift from you."
Those around the hole where the capsule was broke out in song with Chile's national anthem.
Foreman Luis Alberto Urzua, the final of the 33 trapped miners, has been successfully lifted out of the mine. Per state TV, car horns, church bells and fire station alarms ring in his freedom.
The wife of just-rescued Ariel Ticona says he wants to go back to work in the mines within a couple of months.
Ariel Ticona Yanez has now been freed from the mine, the 32nd successfully freed. In the 69 days Yanez has been underground, his wife has given birth to a baby girl named Hope.
Luis Alberto Urzua, the shift foreman, is the last man left underground.
Renan Ávalos has just been pulled up from the mine successfully. He is the brother of Florencio Ávalos, the first miner rescued, who emerged from the shaft at approximately 11:16 p.m. EST last night.
Renan is the 25th miner to be rescued of the 33 total trapped miners. According to reports, the 33rd miner should be rescued late tonight.
HuffPost reader René Boisselle has emailed in the following:
I am a ropeway engineer since more than 25 years and I am amazed how simple and efficient are the mechanisms use for extracting the miners.People from Chile should be proud today. A lesson to many other country where Government respect in its own people is doubtful.
Send us interesting angles and tips to this story here.
The official state TV channel TVN just showed Pelé, the Brazilian soccer star, send a signed Brazilian T-shirt for the miners, saying "Dear friends, I'm praying for you."
The gesture from Pelé is hugely meaningful for this part of the world, where soccer is very, very important. In addition, Argentine soccer star Diego Maradona has also addressed rescue efforts, saying: "There are not different flags, all of us are Chilean rescuers and relatives."
Soccer has been a recurring theme in the rescue efforts. The fifth miner to emerge, Jimmy Sanchéz, was holding a "Universidad de Chile" flag (well known for its soccer team) when he came out of the capsule. And trapped miner Omar Reygada received a Colo-Colo (Chile's most popular soccer team) flag from his son, which he showed off and kissed with great pride.
Another interesting soccer connection: the first rescuer Manuel González was a professional soccer player during the 80's, just like Franklin Lobos, one of the trapped miners.
Yonny Barrios, dubbed "the doctor" by his fellow miners, is now free. He had taken the lead on tracking each miner's health the last 69 days and communicated closely with outside medical personnel.
Barrios embraced his mistress Susana Valenzuela upon leaving the capsule and not his wife of 28 years Marta Salinas, which was expected and previously reported by ABC News.
A health professional said to Barrios after he emerged, "The Medical Department welcomes one of its members!"
The 20th miner of the 33 trapped has just emerged from underground. Dario Segovia, 48, came up with hands raised in the air. He follows 19th miner Pablo Rojas, 45.
Also, in the last several hours, Mario Supelveda, the charismatic second trapped miner to surface, has become a global star.
The 40-year-old electrician, also known as "Super Mario," came up the Phoenix 2 capsule screaming and with rocks as souvenirs. He has since delivered what has become a signature quote: "I was with God and with the devil, and God took me." Read more about him here.
Along with other key figures in the rescue process, Chile President Sebastian Piñera has been posting updates to Twitter via his mobile device.
His most recent update from his BlackBerry translates roughly to the following: "We looked for them as if they were our children. We found them with God's help. We are rescuing them as Chileans. May their example inspire us"
CNN's Patrick Oppman says there will be a press conference on rescued miners' health at Copiapo Hospital at 5 p.m. EST, about three hours from now.
Richard Trumka, president of The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), has released the following statement on the ongoing rescue efforts:
Having followed the footsteps of my father and grandfather into the coal mines of Pennsylvania, and having had the honor of serving as President of the United Mine Workers of America, it is with great emotion that I watch the ongoing rescue efforts in Chile.
It is a rare blessing when the earth gives back up those that it has trapped within. Watching these brave miners return to the embrace of their families is an indescribable joy.
These miners began a day of work months ago like millions do every day, endured tribulations that thankfully few will ever face, and are emerging as an inspiration to the world. Their courage and endurance are only matched by their loved ones, who anxiously await their return and the rescuers who dug tirelessly towards their freedom.
And while this is a happy day, we also bow our heads and remember our fallen brothers and sisters who have not returned to us, and pray for a safe future for all those who toil underground.
The White House has released this statement from President Barack Obama:
Our thoughts and prayers are with the brave miners, their families, and the men and women who have been working so hard to rescue them. While that rescue is far from over and difficult work remains, we pray that by God’s grace, the miners will be able to emerge safely and return to their families soon. We are also proud of all of the Americans who have been working with our Chilean friends on the ground to do everything that we can to bring these miners home.
The 13th, 14th and 15th miners have been pulled from the shaft. They are Carlos Barrios (27), Víctor Zamora (33) and Victor Segovia (48), respectively.
An interesting tidbit from The New York Times:
Alberto Iturra, a psychologist who worked with the miners, talked to them, sometimes several times a day, to sort through their frustrations and depression. After first sending down nicotine patches, officials later sent down cigarettes to the miners, most of whom were smokers, family members said. Still, Dr. Iturra said that doctors never ended up sending down medication for depression.
The AP now reports that the 11th man has reached the surface, meaning 1/3rd of the miners are now above ground. Among those to be pulled up are the youngest miner Jimmy Sanchez, 19, who recently wrote an emotional letter to a relative, and the oldest miner, Mario Gomez, 63. There are still 22 men underground.
The New York Times has this compelling interactive graphic tracking who has been pulled up and who still needs to be rescued.
-Craig Kanalley (back in action, thanks Adam Rose for updating overnight)
For more details from on-the-scene, here's the latest AP wire update.
In light of our last mention about how long the rescue may take, an important note toward the end of the AP coverage:
Chile has promised that its care of the miners won't end for six months at least – not until they can be sure that each one has readjusted.
Psychiatrists and other experts in surviving extreme situations predict their lives will be anything but normal.
It appears to be smooth sailing, as the seventh miner is headed up the shaft. It's averaging about an hour per person -- a rate that means this rescue operation could continue at least another day. Once the seventh is up, that leaves 26 more of the original miners plus at least three rescue personnel. If the rate holds up, everybody would be out sometime on Thursday morning.
A quick recap on Tuesday evening from the Associated Press:
Six men were pulled out in the first six hours of the apparently problem-free operation in the Chile's Atacama desert — a drama that saw the world captivated by the miners' endurance and unity as officials meticulously prepared their rescue.
First out was Florencio Avalos, who wore sunglasses to protect him from the glare of bright lights. He smiled broadly as he emerged and hugged his sobbing 7-year-old son, Bairon, and wife, then got a bearhug from Chilean President Sebastian Pinera shortly after midnight local time.
A second miner, Mario Sepulveda Espina, was pulled to the surface about an hour later — his shouts heard even before the capsule surfaced. After hugging his wife, Elvira, he jubilantly handed souvenir rocks from his underground prison nearly 2,300 feet (700 meters) below to laughing rescuers.
Then he jumped up and down as if to prove his strength before the medical team took him to a triage unit.
"I think I had extraordinary luck. ... I was with God and with the devil — and God took me," Sepulveda said later in a special interview room set up by the government.
Juan Illanes and Carlos Mamani, the third and fourth miners, have been welcomed back to the surface. Everything appears to be running smoothly in the Chile rescue with 29 miners yet to come up (plus a few rescue personnel who have descended to assist underground).
We'll continue live blogging throughout the night, but it's likely that the rescue will continue as a workmanlike performance. Updates will be less frequent (and hopefully not too dramatic) for awhile.
Mario Sepúlveda had been screaming during his ascent, but everything was OK. In fact, it's better than OK. Sepúlveda is now a free man, the second miner to emerge in Chile.
And he wasn't screaming alone, at least not after he came out of the hole. Sepúlveda led loved ones and rescuers in Chile's national cheer.
Perhaps the ham of the group, it appears that he didn't come up the shaft alone -- he brought some souvenirs! The extroverted miner pulled rocks out from a satchel and started handing them to people all around.
Turning to Mining Minister Laurence Golborne, Sepúlveda said "Hola Jefazo!" That translates to "Hi Big Boss!"
Is there any question why he was the narrator for the videos?