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33 Chilean Miners Rescued

Aired October 13, 2010 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks for watching, everyone.

Last night, we witnessed history, as the first of 33 miners were moved from the dark dungeon that they had been living for, at that point, 68 days, today, the 69th day, the operation under still under way.

Let's take a look at the images. Tonight, history continues, operation under way right now, five rescuers still underground, waiting their turn to make their long journey to safety.

That's what it looks like from the top of the rescue capsule moments ago.





COOPER: There, you have the -- one of the -- the last people coming out of the mine. This is the first rescuer arriving on the surface just moments ago. We are going to be covering all of this over the next two hours as we follow the action on the ground, plus some of the most dramatic moments from over the last 24 hours. And what a 24-hour period it has been.

Take a look, images from deep underground just a few moments ago, six rescue workers -- this is before one of them made his way to the surface -- holding a sign reading, "Mission accomplished," their work done. Now we want to watch to make sure they get out alive.

The mission is not over until all the men are out on the surface. They got 33 miners out, and now they themselves are heading home. It is not over yet. And, as you saw, one just came up. We're going to be bringing you their climb to the surface as it continues to happen throughout the night. We're live over the next two hours.

A short time ago, those rescuers, the six men underground, helped the last of the 33 miners into that pod. This is the moment. We saw it from down below.

Take a look, Luis Urzua, the foreman, leader of the group, leaving. Let's listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)



COOPER: He chose to be the last of the miners to leave the underground dungeon that they had been living in. He arrived to cheers on the surface, sirens, and hugs just a short time later. Let's watch.












COOPER: A report to the president that all of the 33 miners were out, the president hugging the mine officials, lifting, going faster than at first, the entire operation proceeding quicker than expected, all angles of it beamed live around the world by the Chilean government, live pictures above ground, below ground, even from inside the rescue pod itself, a remarkable show of confidence with 33 lives on the line.

When it was over, Luis Urzua spoke with Chile's president. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We have done what the entire world was waiting for. These 70 days that we fought so hard were not in vain.

LUIS URZUA, RESCUED MINER (through translator): I think, the first several days were -- I can't even explain it. But -- but we had strength. We had spirit. We wanted to fight. We wanted to fight for our families. That was the greatest thing. These workers, I knew -- I didn't know them much, but I learned how to -- I -- I -- I began to know them. What was the most difficult moment? The most difficult moment was -- there were very difficult moments, but -- but was when every -- the air cleared and we saw the rock.

When I saw the rock, the -- it just made me -- it -- it -- I just thought I was in a movie. And many thought maybe it was going to be a day or two days, as always. But then, when I saw the rock, I -- I just knew. And then we knew how to manage the situation the first couple of days.

Then, you know, some things happened that -- that weren't the best. But we learned how to keep our composure. I'm happy that there weren't any big problems.

SEBASTIAN PINERA, CHILEAN PRESIDENT (through translator): You have no idea how -- how many -- all the Chileans shared the anguish, the hope and the happiness.

URZUA (through translator): I think the -- the first five days, we were sure there was working being done on the mine, but we thought it was just going to be difficult than -- in my experience, I knew it was going to be difficult, the way things were.

PINERA (through translator): At the beginning, we didn't know where you were. We didn't know if you were dead or alive until -- until this arrived.

We cried. In all the homes in Chile, we cried with happiness, with emotion. We will never forget this, the anguish and the -- the anxiety, and then the happiness, the happiness when the last one came out, the captain, the boss.


COOPER: That was Luis Urzua talking to Chile's president, to the Chilean president, showing him the note that was pinned -- that was put on a drill when the -- when the first drill, after 17 days -- when these men had been trapped for 17 days down below, a drill finally broke through.

They put a note on that drill, and that drill went up. And that's how the people on the surface, that's how Chile's president knew that the miners were alive. That was a remarkable moment for everyone, and, of course, that began the true rescue operation to -- actually, once they had located them, knew they were alive, that's when this drama all began.

Another miner -- you see a live picture -- right now, another rescuer leaving -- leaving the mine, heading toward freedom, just a few rescuers left underground. We're going to be bringing each of their -- their ascents to you live. Thirty-three people now breathing fresh air who weren't before.

The rescue workers making their way back up, all ending this way, a tribute to a lot of hard work, daring and expertise from around the world, even from America. Tonight, we're going to tell you about all of it, minute by minute, miracle by miracle. We're going to talk to Bear Grylls from the Discovery network in a little bit from that show "Man vs. Wild."

In particular, we're going to folk with us him on those first 17 days, when the miners were trapped, very little light. They had a few lights on -- on their helmets. They were rationing a little bit of tuna, a little bit of mackerel that had been down in the mine, rationing water, only a little bit of tuna once every two days. They had no idea if people were looking for them, if people were going to be able to find them.

We're going to talk to Bear a lot about how you get through a situation like that.

Let go right now to Gary Tuchman, who is -- who is at the mine.

Gary, it has been just a remarkable 24-hour period. We're still watching these rescuers now being brought to the surface. This thing is not over, and it's important not to -- to kind of move on. And there's still folks underground, very deep underground who are still at risk.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There's still risk involved, and that's why we're keeping a careful eye on the spinning wheel, which indicates that the rescue workers are coming up.

And, once all the rescue workers are up, they will then close that mine shaft right over there for eternity. This has been a very inspirational evening.

We didn't know what would happen last night, Anderson. when this all began. Officials believed that this vehicle that they were using, this rocket-like vehicle -- it almost looked like a toy. That's what was so interesting about it. When you see it, the remarkable video on the bottom of the mine, the audio, and when you see this shoot up through the ceiling, it almost looks like an amusement park.

We knew that they thought it could work, but it never carried a human being until the first human being went down it yesterday, got to the bottom. We were all greatly relieved. And then the first miner hopped in.

And we waited 15 minutes, but it felt like an hour and 15 minutes before he got to the top. But when we saw that rocket come through the hole, everyone started clapping. The family reunion happened here, and then we were suffering, because we just kept watching and watching. And I say that in a very nice way.

We couldn't get enough of it. And I'm not just saying that for all the journalists who were here on this perch, but I'm saying that for viewers all over the world who watched this on television. You can't get enough of these reunions. It is absolutely wonderful.

It wasn't nearly as tense as we got to the second, and the third, the 10th, the 15th, the 20th. But just the reunions and the video that the Chilean government provided of these reunions from the reunion house nearby that they provided when people got together, and they kissed, and they hugged, and they told their stories, was absolutely wonderful.

And then, tonight, 22 hours after it all began, the 33rd and final miner -- he was the site supervisor -- came up. And that was the end. All the miners were safe. Nobody has ever survived this long underground.

But it would have been absolutely squat if they weren't able to rescue the 33 men. And, indeed, they were -- a truly inspirational evening -- Anderson.

COOPER: And, Gary, where are the miners now?

TUCHMAN: Most of the miners are currently in the hospital...

COOPER: Gary...


TUCHMAN: ... about an hour-and-15-minute drive from here, a 15- minute helicopter ride.

COOPER: So, you say most -- most of them are still in the hospital.

And -- and, in terms of their medical conditions, what have you heard? We're going to have a report from the hospital a little bit later on, but what are you hearing?

TUCHMAN: Right. Right. This is the absolutely good news, no major medical issues whatsoever.

A few of the miners had some minor issues, miners with minor issues -- miners with minor issues...


TUCHMAN: ... but nothing major. And it's been the absolute best possible result they could have imagined.

These guys are in terrific shape. Some of these guys may be in better shape than they would have been if they were not in the mine, because they were keeping a careful eye on them over the last few weeks, giving them the proper diet, making sure they were psychologically OK.

So, this is just a wonderful good-news story.

COOPER: So, we're still waiting now for that third rescue worker. You can see all his colleagues gathered around, around the shaft, waiting for him to emerge, three rescue workers still down below.

We first learned that the miners were alive back on August 22. They -- as I said, they had been down there for 17 days already. And that was really the beginning of the story, at least in terms of the international attention. And -- and, of course, the story is going to continue long after the reunions tonight.

Karl Penhaul has been with the families throughout this drama. He joins us now.

Karl, what are the -- I mean, obviously, for the families, this is -- this is the -- the outcome that they have been dreaming of. How did they spend today?


It was an outcome that many on many occasions didn't even dare dream of, because, when that mine first collapsed on August the 5th, just the logical conclusion was that all 33 miners had been buried alive.

But, throughout the day, we have seen the Phoenix rescue capsule rise up that rescue shaft and deliver each miner one by one back into the arms of the people that they most love.

There was, for example, a veteran minor, Mario Gomez, 63 years old. He stepped out of that capsule into the arms of his wife, Lila. He hugged her. And then he took a knee and prayed to God and the Virgin Mary.

There was Esteban Rojas, who took out -- stood out of that rescue capsule into the warm embrace of Jessica Yanez, the woman he had been with for many years. But, while he was down, half-a-mile underground, he decided that, when he got out, it was time to marry Jessica Yanez in a Catholic Church wedding. And that is now what they plan to do.

There was Edison Pena, a young man who is an electrician, part of the team that helped the 33 stay alive down there for so many days, a mad Elvis Presley fan. I just wonder what Elvis Presley...


PENHAUL: ... song was going through his head as he rose back to the surface again.

Many stories like that. Each of the 33 miners have a story to tell -- Anderson.

COOPER: Karl, we're having -- it's getting -- yes, it's getting difficult to hear you, Karl, just because of the background noise near where you are. We will come back to you a little bit later on, because there are so many incredible stories, and -- and these families that are just now getting the chance.

They -- they -- as soon as the miner, as each miner was brought up, they were allowed to be with their loved ones, no more than three family members, just for a few seconds, a very short period of time. And then they were brought to a -- sort of a hospital tent, a triage center that had been set up, and then brought to another medical facility for more intense treatment. This has been a remarkable achievement for Chile, but, from the beginning, the Chilean government has also sought out expertise from all around the world, especially from the United States.

We know they consulted with NASA. We talked last night to two NASA personnel who had been consulted. An American drilling team punched through to the miners in record time, two men brought in from Afghanistan. A lot of people from a lot of places helped make this happen.

Let's talk now to Dennis O'Dell of the United Mine Workers of America.

Dennis, you and I were watching this last night, and I'm sure you have been watching this throughout the day. We have never seen something like this before. Never before have people been underground so long and -- and survived.


You know, and -- and, sadly, you know, when we have seen things like this happen in the past, Anderson, you -- you know as well as I do the outcome has not been a happy ending like we have witnessed and seen here at this event.

So, it's just -- just a joyous occasion to see that the end result is like it is and it's been successful, and all the miners are out, and they're healthy, and they're with their families again. And it's finally glad -- you know, it's finally good to see something like this occur, where the outcome isn't what we have seen in the past, and that's a major disaster, where there's deaths involved.

COOPER: You know, as we rejoice in -- in the survival of these 33 men, often, as you said, we have seen too many cases where people don't survive.

What -- what -- what do we need to learn from this incident? What can we take from this moving forward?

O'DELL: Well, you know, that's something that we're going to have to talk about and talk about in a very near future.

There should be an investigation that takes place to find out what occurred, what caused this to happen. You know, were there shortcuts that were taken? Did they really take all the safety precautions necessary as they mined? I saw where there were some poor safety record and some -- some violations that occurred at this mine.

You know, I'm in the process right now -- in the middle of an investigation at Upper Big Branch, where 29 miners were killed here in West Virginia, one of the worst mine disasters we have had in over 40 years. And, so, we need to learn, you know, from what occurred there.

Thank God that these guys are out and they're safe and we have got them home, but we need to find out what caused that, so that we can prevent it from happening again in the future. You know, we need to look at the -- the top conditions and find out what -- what we could have done better, make better escape -- means of escape for miners, not just one escape, but give them a couple means of escape, so they don't have to barricade themselves and -- and wait for somebody to drill from the top, like they have had to here.

So, there's a lot of things we can learn.

COOPER: Are you surprised at -- and, again, we're waiting for this third rescuer to -- to come to the surface. Are you surprised at -- at how -- the condition of these miners after 69 days? I mean, a lot of them have been just, you know, able to stand, able to talk, and -- and, you know, kind of run around even.

O'DELL: Well, and I think that goes -- you know, you have to give credit to those that headed off this rescue and the resources that they have brought into this from throughout the world, because what we have seen is that they knew they were going to be down there for an extended period of time.

So, you know, they brought in the resources that they knew they had to keep the miners occupied. They knew they had to give them games like dominoes to keep them occupied, establish communications with their loved ones outside, make sure that the nourishment that they were receiving was the right kind of nourishment.

So -- so, because of this, I'm not -- I'm not surprised, because they -- they planned this out properly, so our hats off -- have to go off to those people that planned this from the very beginning. I think they have done an excellent job in that respect.


In terms of -- I mean, how -- how difficult an operation has this been to drill through this material? I mean, we -- they -- they were giving worst-case scenarios that this may not happen until December.

And -- and we're watching -- we see the pod very close there, the -- the Phoenix capsule very close to the surface, bringing up this third rescue worker. And as we watch him come up, how tough has this been in terms of drilling down through that, through that -- that rock?


O'DELL: I think, you know, from the beginning, they weren't sure about...

COOPER: Actually, let -- you know what? Let's just watch this -- I'm sorry, Dennis. Let's just watch this moment unfold. Let's just listen.


O'DELL: OK. Sure.






COOPER: You know, Dennis, let me actually ask you another question about these rescue workers.

I mean, they really -- you know, everyone thinks this thing is over. There are still three men down below. These guys risk their lives every time they go into the earth.

O'DELL: Yes.

And, you know, sometimes, we don't tell these guys how much we do appreciate them. Why don't you think about that for a minute? You know, those guys who were trapped underground, they were there without choice. These guys made a choice to put their life on the line to go underground to help rescue these guys and bring them out.

So, I mean, you just -- you can imagine rescue workers throughout this world do that every time there's a mine disaster. They put their lives at risk. So, they have to be, you know, well-commended on what they do.

COOPER: No doubt about that.

You see the capsule now going back down. They're trying to get through this as quickly as possible, still three men down below.

Our coverage is going to continue.

Dennis O'Dell, thanks. We will talk with you throughout these next hours.

If you would like to weigh in on tonight's amazing events, join the live chat now. You can talk to viewers in the United States and around the world right now watching this live at

We're bringing this story to you throughout the night. We're live until the midnight hour, until the last of the rescuers is safely on the surface.

Just ahead, in addition to everything else that is happening live as it happens, a closer look at what it takes mentally to survive. What if you were in a -- a situation trapped somewhere or in a survival situation? What does it take to get through? We are going to talk to "Man vs. Wild"'s Bear Grylls.


BEAR GRYLLS, "MAN VS. WILD": I think one of the hardest emotions to deal with for the survivor is the not knowing, not knowing whether rescue is ever going to be able to reach you, not knowing if anyone is looking for you. You know, those are really hard emotions to deal with.









COOPER: That's miner Jose Ojeda waving the Chilean flag. You're watching it. We're going to be bringing you really all the most incredible moments through the last 24 hours. No doubt you missed some of these miners as they were brought out, as you were at work today or -- or wherever.

We are going to bring you really some of the most remarkable moments that we have witnessed, along with everyone around the world, as we wait for the final rescuers to come back to the surface. The miners are out. The rescuers are still down below, three men still down below. That capsule has left. It is still descending now.

They're going much faster. We anticipate these three rescue workers should be back up perhaps -- certainly by the end of this next hour.

We have a much better idea right now of how the rescued miners are doing physically. With the exception of one miner who is being treated for pneumonia, two who we're told need extensive dental surgery, the rescued men appear to be in pretty good shape, as Gary Tuchman reported.

Patrick Oppmann is in Copiapo, Chile, at the hospital where the miners are being examined and treated.

Patrick, what is their condition?

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, there are 17 miners in this hospital here behind us, and we were told today by the Chilean health minister that they're in all surprisingly good condition.

None of the men will face any serious health problems as a result of their two-plus months in captivity. And, you know, you were talking a moment ago about remarkable moments. A remarkable moment here just a few hours ago, when, as we were watching this final rescue, Anderson, this final rescue, we started hearing shouting coming down from the windows up above there, the men on the second and fourth stories of this hospital, and they were watching the rescue of their colleagues, watching those rescues, the same kinds of rescue that they had experienced either earlier in the day or late last night, and started chanting, "Chile, Chile."

The family members were down in the lobby. You could hear their chants. You can -- I talked to hospital workers here, and they said every single patient in this hospital was watching the coverage, including the 17 most important patients in this hospital, those 17 miners. We're expecting to see more of those helicopters, more of those Army Hueys, bringing in the miners here to this hospital -- Anderson.

COOPER: Patrick Oppmann, appreciate it.

Dr. Kimberly Manning joins me now. She is a -- an assistant professor at Emory University Medical School. She was with us last night.

Dr. Manning, I mean, it sounds like the conditions of these miners is not very serious. There is acute pneumonia, obviously serious for that miner, and skin problems, lesions on the eye. How would that have happened?

DR. KIMBERLY MANNING, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE, EMORY UNIVERSITY MEDICAL SCHOOL: Well, they were in such a damp quarter. It was very dark in the area.

And then, you must remember, it was very, very hot down there, 85 to 90 degrees. And so some of those infections that have been reported are what we call fungal infections. Any kind -- type of infection that is caused by a fungus really thrives in that type of an environment.

Think of things like yeast or like athlete's foot or even jock itch. Those are things you will see in the warm, moist, damp circumstances.

COOPER: Were you surprised to see, I mean, how well they all looked, walking around just fine, you know, none -- none visibly out of breath? They all looked like they were in pretty good condition.

MANNING: You know, I will tell you, Anderson, I think that many people were so surprised that, after 17 days, that these gentlemen were alive and that they were in such high spirits.

What I learned from that is that anything was possible with this group of gentlemen. And, so, I have to say, I can't say that I'm completely surprised that they're doing better than what we anticipated.

Like we said all evening long, we have never, ever seen anything like this. And for us health care professionals, we have nothing to go by. What we can do is speculate and make assumptions of what could have happened, but we're all learning so much as this unfolds.

And it's exciting to see that folks are doing so well. But, as we mentioned before, this has been so, so traumatic, that I just will be very surprised if the -- the miners can escape some of those psychological effects.

COOPER: You know, so much of the studies that I have read on -- on people in these kind of conditions basically are -- are astronauts or are people, you know, health workers in Antarctica, researchers there, people who have been in isolation.

But -- but what -- what -- what makes this different is that darkness that these men experienced for -- for these past 69 days.

Talk a little bit about how that can affect somebody, not just in the short term, but also long term, what it does to the body and one's mental health, to be living in complete darkness, and how they worked to have a light area and a dark area, a light area using lamps and some LED lights to try to get kind of a distinctive light area that might at least trick their body into -- into being on some sort of a rhythm.


So, this is specifically what we refer to as the circadian rhythm. And your body's circadian rhythm is a 24-hour clock that literally regulates all the physiological processes of the body. And so things like how you -- how active you are, how your muscles move, how alert you are, those things are tied to the circadian rhythm and follow a light and dark cycle.

And so it was very, very tough, very likely, for those gentlemen in the first 17 days. But, once they established that light/dark area, that may have helped some. At night, they did have a red light to sort of mimic moonlight, if you will.

And I think what we have also learned is that things aren't exactly what we thought. Some of the gentlemen were moving around a lot more. They had more free rein and free roam of the mine than we once realized.

And, so, some of what we imagined wasn't quite exactly what the -- the miners are telling us once they came up. So, I -- I think that they have just been a lot -- doing a lot better than we expected, and perhaps that light/dark cycle that they were able to mimic did in fact keep them on some type of cycle.


We knew the -- the area, the room that they were in, was about 600 square feet or so. But, because there were tunnels in this mine, they did have access in areas that they could walk in and go to.

And perhaps most importantly, from a health standpoint, another small area, another area that they actually used as a toilet area, just for health reasons, sanitation reasons, and sort of reasons of personal dignity, that would make a big difference, having a separate area where they could go and relieve themselves.

Dr. Kimberly Manning, appreciate your expertise.

Still ahead tonight: what it takes to survive an ordeal as grueling as a mine collapse. Survivor Bear Grylls joins me just ahead.


GRYLLS: It's just a spirit of saying, I will never, ever -- whatever happens, I'm never going to give up.

And, actually, that really is the heart of the survivor.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking in a foreign language)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chi-le! Chi-chi-chi-! Le-le-le! Los mineros de Chile!



COOPER: Unbelievable. That was Mario Sepulveda, the second miner pulled to safety. He's the guy who'd been narrating a lot of the videos that we have been watching over these last 69 days, leading the cheer there. No mistaking his joy. He was pumped. I mean, just -- I don't know, watching it sends chills through you. Hard to believe he spent more than two months underground.

We've seen over and over, as the miners were pulled out, how resilient they seem after all they have been through. How strong they are. Few of us are ever going to come close to experiencing what they have survived. Not even Bear Grylls, who's host of Discovery Channel "Man Versus Wild." He's obviously made a career out of testing his own limits.

We want to talk about how these miners survived, how all of us could survive in any kind of dangerous situation. Particularly, I was interested in those first 17 days, which is when these miner had no idea if people were looking for them, if people just assumed they were dead; had no idea if they were going to ever be rescued.

I talked to Bear Grylls via Skype.


COOPER: From a survival standpoint, what really stands out to you about this story? BEAR GRYLLS, HOST, "MAN VERSUS WILD": It's just -- it's such a long period of time, you know? It's hard to kind of get a grasp of just what it must be like to be underground for that amount of time. You know, I've kind of endured storms on mountains, being stuck in snow holes for long periods of time, but, you know, we're always talking kind of days, rather than weeks and months.

And, you know, I think just the reality of what these guys have gone through is going to take a long time to recover. And I think what would happen is that there would be a mass euphoria initially of those outpouring of emotion, but it's actually kind of -- that's a honeymoon period.

The hard time I think people will find, for the survivors, would actually be a month or two down the line, when you've processed a lot of the emotions you've kept a lid on all that time underground.

COOPER: The other thing that really stands out to me is that, especially those first, you know, 16 or 17 days after they realized they were trapped, when they weren't sure if rescue was coming, they weren't sure if anyone was going to be able to find them. They're in pitch-black conditions. They're in a room about 600 or so square feet. There's 33 of them. That's got to be the toughest time, even for guys who are used to being underground, just not knowing if anyone is going to actually find them.

GRYLLS: Really terrifying. And I think one of the hardest emotions to deal with for the survivor is the not knowing. Not knowing what rescue will ever be able to reach you. Not knowing if anyone is looking for you, you know, those are really hard emotions to deal with.

I think once they realized there was a glimmer of hope, how ever small that glimmer was, then you can start to set into that routine. But that initial not knowing must be very frightening.

I think also the fact that your senses become deprived of everything we take for granted, like light, warmth, sleep, rest, you know, even things like family, love, children. You know, you start taking all of that away from people, and, you know, stuff happens. And I think all emotions get very heightened. So the good emotions, the bad emotions, things get blown out of proportion.

And I think for these guys, they pulled this off and they survived this. It's something they should be so, so proud of. And what an amazing experience for them to go through.

COOPER: And for those first 16 or 17 days before the drill got to them, they were basically surviving on little pieces of fish. I read mackerel and tuna that were already in the mine, and also, obviously, water. How long can someone go just on that kind of a diet?

GRYLLS: Well, you're into survival food, then, you know, but your body can last, you know, up to like 40 days without food. They're on very limited rations, they can survive a while. But again, it's measured in weeks. The important thing for them was water, which they did have.

But again, you know, you're really reduced to basic levels in life. And, you know, you've got to just admire that fortitude and that courage and the way they must have worked together.

And it just shows that human beings, when we're really put up against it, actually we're all survivors underneath it, regardless of how we see ourselves. And we struggle with this or struggle with that. But actually, when we're squeezed, we're like grapes, you see what we're made of. And these guys should be really, really proud. Wow, what an amazing journey.

COOPER: What is your advice for people who find themselves in a survival situation where they don't know if rescue is coming? I mean, what's the key?

GRYLLS: I think three things. One is keeping positive. You know? It's kind of easy to roll off the tongue, but actually, you know, out of everything, just seeing things always as half full, and everything has hope is so important.

The other thing I think is being inventive, keep thinking of clever little ways that, you know, inventing and improvising things.

And the final one, really, the most important one, is just the spirit of saying, "I'm never, ever, whatever happens, I'm never going to give up." And actually that, really, is the heart of the survivor. And that's what these guys have shown.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Is this an experiment you would want to try on your show, being underground for this long?

GRYLLS: No. Three months, that's -- no. I'm -- you know, we tend to take about five or six days to film "Man Versus Wild" and at the end of that, I'm well, well ready to get out of there and get home. I admire these guys so much. I've been praying for them, and I'm so glad to see them on the way to safety.

I once went 3 1/2 months without a shower, and it took me about a month to smell normal again. I don't know what these guys are going to smell like at the end, but what a journey and I'm so glad they're on the way out.

COOPER: Bear Grylls, appreciate your time. Thank you.

GRYLLS: Take care.


COOPER: Amazing.

Just ahead, more coverage from Chile. An incredible and historic night continues. Not over. All the miners may be safely above ground, but all the rescuers who descended into the chamber to get them have not yet surfaced. We're following them every step of the way. We'll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Welcome back to our continuing coverage of the rescue operation, still underway. You see there the large picture on your screen, mine officials waiting for the rescuer, the fourth rescuer to emerge from -- from the shaft. Two rescuers still down below.

There are other stories that we are following tonight, though. Let's get a quick update on some of them. Isha Sesay has a "360 Bulletin" for us -- Isha.

ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, both the U.S. and Mexico are continuing to search for an American reported missing despite the murder of the lead Mexican investigator in the case. David Hartley's wife, Tiffany, says he was shot to death while they were Jet Skiing on the Mexican side of Falcon Lake. She says David was murdered, but his body has not been found.

The Obama administration plans to file an imminent appeal of a judge's order banning the enforcement of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the Pentagon's policy that bars openly-gay service members. The White House says that, while the president opposes the policy, the law should be changed by Congress, not the courts.

The Senate candidates in Delaware faced off tonight in a debate as a new poll out today shows Democrat Chris Coons with a 19-point lead over Republican Christine O'Donnell.

And now that all those miners in Chile have been rescued successfully, Anderson, it looks like their lives are about to change financially. There's a report that each of them will receive $10,000 from a Chilean business tycoon. Other reports say each will receive $400,000 for exclusive television interviews. They've been invited to travel to Europe. Companies apparently are lining up to offer endorsement deals. There's other free gifts such as iPods and apparently plenty of job offers, Anderson.

That's a lot of moolah they're looking at.

COOPER: Let's hope they all handle it pretty well. We'll check in with you as our coverage continues. We'll go live all the way through the midnight hour.

Live pictures now. The fourth rescuer has emerged from the capsule, just seconds ago. Here you see his colleagues hugging him, welcoming him home. And you'll see how quickly they try to get that capsule, the Phoenix capsule, back in the ground, going down to pick the two men still below.

Let's listen in just here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (speaking foreign language)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): How was the trip?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It was good. UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Did the cage behave?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (speaking foreign language)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The rescuer being asked about...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It was really hot. It was really humid, but everything was fine.

COOPER: That's the voice of the translator describing what they're saying, that it's hot and humid. Obviously, we have known that, 85 to 90 degrees for those miners. That's what they have been living in. They've been having some problem with that gate from the very beginning. The operation was delayed a little bit last night if you recall early on in the hours because of the gate on the Phoenix capsule.

But one of the rescuers being asked whether or not there were any problems with it. He said there weren't.

I want to show you some pictures from last night, that frankly, I think took everyone's breath away. This is the first time we saw live video from 2,300 feet underground. The first -- this is the time that the Phoenix capsule first made contact with the first rescuer, the first time these miners had had human contact from someone above, the first rescuer to go down there.

We did not expect or did not prepare to be watching a shot from down below as it happened. We heard rumors it might happen, but we didn't know it was going to happen. At first we didn't even know exactly what it was. We shouldn't have been surprised, perhaps.

What has made this entire saga so gripping is the extent to which we've all been utterly connected to it. We've been able to watch nearly every second of it from almost every angle, thanks to the forethought of the Chilean government, which didn't forget that we live in a digital world.

We also heard, as you're hearing right now, the radio communication between the miners underground and the officials above, who are watching this in real time on that computer screen. This video image was taken off their computer screen.

Chad Myers joins us now to talk about this technology and how it all happened.

Chad, it's incredible planning on Chile's part. This thing looked like a TV production, the way it was wired from just about every angle.

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: No question about it.

Now, we do know that they used that technology so that they could see how far the capsule was coming down. And when it was going back up, as long as they knew that it wasn't getting a little bit bent.

Let me show you how this is working here. Let me show you what they had to do to make this a little bit different.

This is just your typical web cam. You can hook this up to any computer, and you can talk to your grandmother on the other side of the country if she has another one just like this. You see her, and she sees you.

The problem is the cord length, about 25 feet. Even with a very good USB cord, you can go about 25 feet away from your computer before you start losing data. You start losing some intensity of the camera itself. So how did they do it? How did they make this 2,000-foot drop?

Well, it's the same way that I'm talking to you. A little bit less sophisticated. But we are talking, you and I, on fiber optic. We're not going back and forth on the satellite any more. That's why you and I, Anderson, don't have a satellite delay like you might get to the Anaconda (ph) Desert.

Well, the 2,000 feet that they dropped this fiber optic cable down was attached to a video transmitter that transmitted the video on fiber optic, straight up one of those other holes that was drilled in the surface of the earth all the way down to the miners.

They hooked up the video transmitter to a small little camera. It went up to the top, plugged into a laptop, and we were able to see the miners as that shaft, and the Phoenix 2 was coming down into their area. We could see it live, literally, no delay whatsoever.

And so could the people up above, pushing the -- letting the cable come down, to see how far that Phoenix capsule was going into the mine. They didn't want to crash you to the bottom. Clearly, they didn't want to damage it any time they went up and down. They made sure that there was nobody standing in front of that camera every time that Phoenix capsule went up and down.

COOPER: They had also done this previously so that the miners could have contact with folks on the surface, not only family members, but also psychiatrists and counselors in case they were having emotional problems.

MYERS: No question about it. And in fact they had even -- if this was going to go on all the way until Christmas, they were going to find a way for every miner to possibly have some type of Internet connection, as well. We know that this happened a lot quicker than Christmas, and every miner is very happy about that.

COOPER: Yes, we all are. Chad, thanks. Appreciate that.

Still ahead, more family stories as the men who rescued those families' loved ones return to the surface. Two rescuers still to come up. We're following all the action. We're live through midnight. We'll be right back.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chi-le! Chi-chi-chi-! Le-le-le! Los mineros de Chile!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chi-le! Chi-chi-chi-! Le-le-le! Los mineros de Chile!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chi-le! Chi-chi-chi-! Le-le-le! Los mineros de Chile!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And there the by now traditional chant. It sounds like a soccer chant, but it's not. It's a chant in support of the Chilean miners, the 33 that have spent more than two months now trapped half a mile underground, but that ordeal now, Franklin Lobos, a former soccer star, is over.


COOPER: So many remarkable moments we have seen over the last 24 hours that. Was our Karl Penhaul. This is who the family was waiting for, the moment the had been hoping for: 33 miners now home safe.

Rescue crews, though, on their way out of the mine. Two men, still underground right now. We are watching it live. On the right side of your screen, you see it there. The world transfixed by their stories. One has come home to a new daughter named Esperanza, also obviously the translation of that name is Hope.

Another returned to a soap opera and a mistress. One is going to Graceland.

I want to go back to Karl Penhaul now.

Karl, we had heard the story about this miner I guess who had a mistress and a wife on the scene. Who was there to greet that miner?

KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, today Johnny Barrios probably hoped that he could go in the back door, if there had been such a thing. Yes, he had gotten in hot water as a partner -- got in how water with one another over who really was over the rightful wife.

But today the woman that was there to greet Johnny Barrios as he came back to the surface was his girlfriend, his mistress, if you like, the woman that he left his wife to go and live with. Johnny Barrios calls her Chana, and she calls him "My Titanic." Why is that? Because the pair of them, they say, absolutely love the movie "Titanic." She told me that when I talked to her about one month ago.

And she said that when Johnny Barrios came out, they would likely just lock themselves in at home for many days and watch the movie "Titanic" once again.

But Johnny Barrios, of course, on a serious point, has played a tremendous role down that cabin (ph) half a mile underground, because it was him who was known to his colleagues as Dr. House. It was he that was receiving instructions from the medical officers up above. It was he that carried out all the medical tests, the urine tests, the blood tests, the blood pressure tests on those 33 miners to make sure that they stayed alive, to make sure any infections were treated.

So, yes, he is in hot water with his love partners, but that really gives us example that these were, before all this somewhat unremarkable men, and since August 5th, they've been called upon to do absolutely remarkable things, Anderson.

COOPER: Yes, and we're watching, Karl, just so you know, on the right side of our screen a live image from underground. The capsule arriving to take the fifth rescue worker up above ground.

There's just two men left. You see both the men there. One of them is loading his stuff into that capsule. And then he will make the long journey up. And then there will just be one man still to be rescued and then finally we can say that everybody, everybody, has been brought back alive. And that of course will be yet another joyous moment in the many we have witnessed over these last 24 hours. It's interesting that you talk about Dr. House and the role he played, the medical role he played.

Each of these miners was assigned very specific tasks, and this was done prior to the world knowing they were alive. The miners organized themselves in those first 17 days to keep themselves busy.

But afterward, as the experts came in and NASA officials came in, their advice was to give them very specific tasks in order to keep people occupied, that it was important that people weren't just sitting around doing nothing. That everybody felt that they had a role to play. Correct, Karl?

PENHAUL: That is absolutely true, Anderson. But make no mistake, if it hadn't have been for the miners organizing themselves for the first 17 days, they would never have survived. They would never have lived to tell the tale.

And I suspect it was the last man up, the shift foreman, Luis Urzua, who had a tremendous hand in organizing these men, who had a tremendous hand in rationing out the food. There were just about 120 cans of tuna for the 33 men for those 17 days. Work it out. It's a can of tuna every four days. Not a lot to survive on.

But each time we saw Luis Urzua subsequently in video that the miners sent up, he was surrounded by plans and diagrams. Never said a lot, but he was constantly planning.

He was the last man up today, clearly a man who knows his responsibilities, clearly a man who knows his duties, like the captain on a sinking ship. He wanted to see all his men safely to the surface first. And when he was received by President Sebastian Pinera on the surface, the president simply looked at him and said, "Mr. Urzua, your shift is over."

That shift that began on August the 5th, Anderson, has now come to a close. All 33 miners are back on the surface safe and sound. COOPER: Yes. And we just saw the pod leaving the -- that -- what had been a dark dungeon for 33 men for 69 days. And now there is just that one rescue worker all alone by himself down there, waiting for the capsule to come down one last time.

And as we watch now, everybody on the surface waiting for that fifth rescue worker to emerge. It will probably take ten minutes or so for him to make it to the surface. Karl, we're going to check in with you in this next hour, because we're live all the way to the midnight hour just ahead as we wait for the final rescuers to leave.

We're going to take a short break. We'll be right back.