Nightly News | September 24, 2010
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: Now to a drama we've been following in South America . There's some encouraging news to report tonight about the effort to rescue those 33 Chilean miners who have now been trapped below ground for 51 days. We're also learning more about how they've been passing the time. Our own Natalie Morales traveled to the site of the mine. She's with us from there live tonight. Hey, Natalie , good evening.
NATALIE MORALES reporting: Good evening to you, Brian . This is a 24/7 rescue operation , with drill teams now working around the clock trying to dig tunnels to those trapped miners . And officials say here they're on track and making good progress for an earlier than expected rescue. Nearly a half mile below ground, the 33 miners are trying to get on with their subterranean existence, now in its seventh week. Their lifeline till now has been a three-inch shaft bringing them delivery tubes of food, water, medicine and vitamins. They survive on a 2500 calorie diet high in protein. To maintain some normalcy, the men mimic a routine of day and night with lamps. Physically though thinner, all are reportedly in good condition.
MORALES: 'They're in good health and have no illnesses related to being under ground,' says the doctor who treats them. They have been able to shower with fresh water in the mine and are even exercising with a personal trainer via a video teleconference hookup. Work also keeps them busy. They've been clearing rock in shifts from the drilling site, even alerting the rescue teams one of their drill bits fell through this week.
Mr. BRANDON FISHER (Center Rock Inc., President): Well, the miners have actually been a help to our operation, giving us tips on what they're seeing down there vs. what we're seeing on the surface.
MORALES: There have been moments of joy, celebrating birthdays, even watching soccer and movies on a projector screen. Psychologists work with them daily.
Mr. ALBERTO YTURRA (Psychologist):
MORALES: 'Some are worried about their kids, others are just more tired right now,' he says. It's up and down. The miners are also getting ready for the next phase, for those long awaited reunions with their family members keeping vigil here at Camp Hope and for, of course, returning to life once again in the real world .
Ms. LILIANA RAMIREZ:
MORALES: 'It's been emotionally draining,' says Liliana Ramirez , waiting for her husband, Mario Gomez . But the families say nothing can be more difficult that what the miners are going through. But with each passing day, there was hope that they are one day closer to coming home. And officials now say that rescue could happen by the first week in November. One of the other things the miners are doing to get ready here, apparently they're going to be undergoing media training to get ready for the onslaught
of press attention here. Brian: Our own Natalie Morales . who journeyed to the site of that mine in Chile . Natalie , thank you very much for your reporting from there tonight.