(NECN: San Jose Mine, Chile) - A rescue worker has reached the 33 trapped miners in Chile. Manuel Gonzalez, a mining rescue expert was the first one to be lowered down the shaft.
He will help prepare the trapped miners for their half-mile journey up to the surface.
It took rescuers more than a month to drill down through solid rock. They've crafted a 2,300 foot rescue shaft -- the tunnel -- steel pipe -- just 28 inches wide. The miners will have to fold themselves into a 13-foot tall chamber not much wider than their shoulders. It has been named the Phoenix after the mythic bird that rose from the ashes. But despite all hopes pinned to it -- not fool proof.
The men have been on a special diet to get them to the appropriate weight and will be winched up one by one -- the strongest first -- so they can help with any glitches in the system -- the weakest next -- then everyone else. At 2.3 feet per second, the winding and potentially harrowing ride to the surface should take about 15 to 20 minutes.