SAN JOSE MINE, Chile (AP) - Chile's health minister says panic attacks are the biggest worry as rescue teams prepare to extract 33 miners who have spent more than two months trapped deep below the Chilean desert.
Yesterday, drillers completed a shaft from the surface down to the chamber where the miners have been living.
The minister says the men were so giddy with confidence about their impending rescue that they were arguing over who should be the last one out.
Engineers have determined that only the top few hundred feet of the shaft needed to be reinforced with a sleeve and workers have been welding together about 16 steel pipes for that purpose.
Chile's mining minister says the first tests of the rescue capsules will likely begin early Wednesday and the rescue could begin later that day. It's expected to take about 48 hours.
Besides panic attacks, the health minister says blood clots are another concern. To reduce the risk, the miners are taking aspirin. They'll also drink a high-calorie liquid donated by NASA and put on compression socks before starting the nearly half-mile ride to the surface.