Hope dawned with the new day Wednesday as a red, white and blue capsule lifted miners from the dark bowels of the earth into the light. For 69 harrowing days, the 33 miners trapped in the San Jose gold and copper mine in Chile waited for their ascent to freedom. As the first of the lot made the bumpy ride to the surface through half a mile of rock, the jubilant cries of a nation rang out. Eager family members and anxious strangers from around the world bit their lips in anticipation as the rescue began in the intense chill of the desert night. Sixteen minutes later, they broke out in cheers and chants of "Chile!" as Florencio Avalos was the first to step out from the "Fenix" capsule, named for the mythical bird that rose from ashes. In the capital Santiago, hundreds wept and embraced as they watched the rescue on a flickering big screen TV set up in a square. Corks popped and champagne flowed at the Chilean embassy in Washington, D.C.