Rescuers are closing in on the 33 Chilean miners who have been trapped underground for more than two months. A reporter who is covering the latest developments brings us up to speed on the rescue mission and when the miners are expected to reach the end of their ordeal. Joseph Sbaffoni led the rescue in 2002 of the Quecreek mine in Pennsylvania where nine miners were pulled out alive. He says that the rescuers in Chile must put in a casing if there is any indication that the hole is unstable and take that extra week because they can't sacrifice the miners safety for the sake of time. We also spoke to a psychologist who discusses the biggest challenges facing the miners once they are above ground.
It's Monday October 11th, Thanksgiving.
A day when friends and family gather and, typically, eat turkey.
Currently, over at Veterans Affairs, this year's bird of choice, is crow.
This is The Current.
Chilean Miners - Reporter
Horns honking. Bells ringing. Champagne corks popping. Family members cheering - and weeping. An emotional celebration erupted at the San Jos— Mine Saturday when the news hit. Contractors operating a giant drill had finally broken through to the underground cavern where 33 Chilean miners have been trapped for more than nine weeks - a world record.
After 67 days underground, there is now - quite literally - a light at the end of the tunnel for the miners. Chilean officials say they expect the rescue to begin Wednesday with the last of the men out by Friday. But there's a lot to be done between now and then. And still a lot that could go wrong.
Stephen Bodzin has been covering this story for the Christian Science Monitor. He was at the San Jos— Mine for the show.
Chilean Miners - Rescuer
The rescue operation underway in Chile is unprecedented in its complexity. So for a sense of what could be involved, we're joined by Joseph Sbaffoni. He's the Director of the Bureau of Mine Safety in Pennsylvania. He led the rescue of 9 miners trapped in the Quecreek mine in 2002. And he was in Uniontown, Pennsylvania.
Chilean Miners - Psychologist
If and when the miners get back above ground safely, the focus will shift to helping them deal with the psychological aftermath of what they've experienced. Doctor Al Holland is a Senior Operational Psychologist with NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. He was part of a team of experts that travelled to Copiapo, Chile, to offer technical advice to the officials organizing the rescue efforts.
Al Holland was in Houston for the show.