Drill Team Breaks Through To Trapped Miners

"yahoonews: A drilling rig punched through to the underground purgatory where 33 miners have been trapped for 66 agonizing days under the Chilean desert, raising cheers, tears and hopes on Saturday. Champagne sprayed and hard hats tumbled off heads as rescue workers pressed close to the drill, hugging each other and shouting for joy. Down in ""Camp Hope,"" where the miners' relatives waited, people waved flags and cried as one man energetically rang a brass bell even before the siren sounded confirming the escape shaft had reached the miners. The men are still several days away from efforts to bring them to the surface: the rescue team wants to eliminate even a remote chance of something going wrong on their way up, and plans to carefully inspect the shaft with a video camera before deciding whether to reinforce it. ""We feel an enormous happiness, now that i'm going to have my brother,"" said Darwin Contreras, whose brother Pedro, a 26-year-old heavy machine operator, is stuck down below. ""When the siren rang out, it was overwhelming. Now we just have to wait for them to get out, just a little bit longer now."" The ""Plan B"" drill won a three-way race against two other drills to carve a hole wide enough for an escape capsule to pull the miners out one by one. While ""Plan A"" and ""Plan C"" stalled after repeatedly veering off course, the ""Plan B"" drill reached the miners at a point 2,041 feet (622 meters) below the surface at 8:05 a.m., after 33 days of drilling. Jeff Hart of Denver, Colorado, operated the drill, and said the entire rescue crew erupted with cheers when the T130 broke through. ""There is nothing more important than saving, possibly saving 33 lives. There's no more important job than that,"" Hart said. ""We've done our part, now it's up to them to get the rest of the way out."""