Chilean miners face harrowing trip to surface

The Chilean miners trapped more than 600 metres underground will face one more horror as they are pulled from the mine one at a time in a cramped capsule.

Starting around midnight Tuesday, each of the 33 miners who have been trapped since Aug. 5 will take their turn being strapped into the capsule that will carry them to the surface through a shaft it took weeks to drill.

The rescue capsule — known as the Phoenix — has passed unmanned tests, but this type of rescue has never been attempted before. Psychologists, Chile’s health minister and doctors at the site say this will be a perilous journey for the miners.

Doctors say they expect the miners could suffer nausea and heart palpitations and are concerned about the risk of blood clotting and heart attacks. They have already sent Aspirin down to the men to thin their blood.

A group of four including paramedics will be the first to make the trip from the surface, travelling down into the mine to reassure the men and oversee the rescue. The miners will then be strapped into the capsule, which is barely larger than themselves.

The tube is expected to spin on its way to the surface, and the trip could take between 15 minutes and an hour.

Psychologists said that while the men seemed calm, they could sense anxiety in their voices.

Above ground, the mine site is abuzz with excitement as families have gathered in a special waiting area to see their loved ones.

Each miner has chosen two loved ones he will get to see as soon as he gets out, before being whisked away for medical treatment.

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