2010 Copiapó mining accident in Chile comes to a happy end as all 33 miners arrive at the surface after surviving a record 69 days underground

October 13, 2021

2010 Copiapó mining accident in Chile comes to a happy end

On October 13, 2010, 33 miners slowly emerged from a capsule that was repeatedly lowered deep in the ground. The miners had been trapped far underground for 69 days, ever since an explosion in the mine had trapped them there on August 5th.

For 17 days after the explosion, the miners waited and kept each other’s hopes up. The situation was a true test of their camaraderie and character. Isolated in the mine with no contact with the outside world and extremely limited food and water, the miners had to cooperate with each other to survive. They worked together, prayed together and rationed their food.

Meanwhile, above ground, Chile’s National Emergency Office was frantically putting together a rescue mission. With no knowledge of whether or not the 33 men were even alive, and spurred on by the mens’ loved ones, rescuers began to drill into the rock right above “The Refuge,” where the men had been trapped. Eventually, the probe reached The Refuge. The miners saw the probe and tied a note to it, saying, “The 33 of us are fine in the shelter.”

Over the next few months, the rescue operation focused on getting food, water and ventilation to the miners through various holes drilled. They kept an open line of communication while they widened the hole to fit a large capsule. Finally, after 69 days underground, the Chilean miners got into the man-sized capsule one by one to be lifted up to the surface. There, they were met by their loved ones who had formed a tent city called “Camp Hope” at the drill site.


  1. Andrew Rasanen

    Several books have been published about this event. Deep Down Dark, a New York Times bestseller by Hector Tobar, provides an excellent, detailed, gripping account of how the miners survived.

  2. Robert Chiarello

    Excellent replay of these events.

  3. Sonny

    I always think of the thoughts of the last miner to leave the abyss.


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