The 33 men trapped in a
Chilean mine were able to speak with their families for the first time Sunday as authorities lowered a cable 700 metres below ground to where the miners are trapped, dpa reported.
The families expressed relief that the miners were doing well so far, despite the difficulty of freeing them which could take months.
Moving scenes played out during the conversations. Miner Esteban Rojas used the opportunity to propose a church marriage ceremony to his wife Jessica Yanez after being married in a civil ceremony 25 years ago.
The start of drilling for a rescue shaft to reach the miners was due to begin Monday after being delayed because technical preparations had yet to be finished over the weekend.
The miners have been trapped since August 5 when a tunnel collapsed at the mine, located about 700 kilometres north of Santiago.
Rescue workers only determined they were still alive a week ago. Since then, the miners have received food, water, medicine and news from their relatives through a narrow tube as officials redoubled their efforts to get them out.
On Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI prayed for the miners and urged them not to lose hope.