|Published:||Aug 23, 2010 11:58 AM EDT|
|Updated:||Aug 23, 2010 8:58 AM EDT|
SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) - Chileans are euphoric after learning that all 33 workers trapped in a collapsed mine for 17 days are alive and well.
President Sebastian Pinera says "Today all of Chile is crying with excitement and joy."
Authorities and relatives of the miners hugged, climbed a nearby hill, planted 33 flags and sang the national anthem Sunday after a probe sent some 2,000 feet deep into the mine came back with a note saying "All 33 of us are fine in the shelter."
One of the trapped miners, Mario Gomez, wrote "I am OK thanks to God. I hope to get out soon." But rescuers say it could take four months. They have to drill a tunnel wide enough to get the miners out.
Chile has some of the world's most advanced mining operations. But both the company that owns the mine and the national mining service have been criticized for allegedly failing to comply with regulations.
Among his expressions of faith and love for his family, Gomez criticized his employer in the note saying "this company has to modernize."