LISA MULLINS: The drama at the San Jose mine has been going on for 69 days now. It began on August 5th. That's when part of the mine collapsed, and the miners were trapped deep underground. Rescue crews began sending down probes. But for 17 days, nobody knew if the men down below were still alive.
MULLINS: That's Chile's president Sebastian Pinera, waving a note from the miners that the men had tied to a probe. He said, ï¿½This came out today, from the middle of the mountain, from the deepest part of the mine. It says, We are all fine, all thirty three of us.ï¿½ The next sign of life was just as exhilarating. After getting supplies of water, food and some communications gear, the miners sent another message. The men were singing the Chilean national anthem. Chile's Minister of Mines warned the rescue could take until Christmas, although authorities didn't relay that information to the miners.
LAURENCE GOLBORNE: They understand that we have to go through 700 meters of solid rock to rescue them, so they can have a sense that it will be long period of time.
MULLINS: But in the end, it only took a little more than two months for the drill to break through. The oldest miner, Mario Gomez, was the ninth man to emerge today. He's 63, and suffers from silicosis. That's a lung disease. He came up wearing an oxygen mask. Gomez was shown live on television, speaking to the presidents of Chile and Bolivia about his ordeal.
MULLINS: He said, sometimes you need something to happen to really reflect and understand that you only have one life. I am changed, he said. I'm a different man.