Tense Final Hours Ahead for Chilean Miners

SAN JOSE MINE, Chile (AP) - Crews are putting the finishing touches on an escape shaft that will be used to pull 33 Chilean miners to safety.

The extraction will probably begin on Wednesday.

The shaft was completed Saturday morning and rescuers determined only the top few hundred feet of the escape tunnel needed to be reinforced with a steel sleeve.

Meantime, the miners' physical and mental health is being fastidiously monitored. Precautions are being taken against all manner of complications -- aspirin to prevent blood clots, a special drink to settle the stomach and video monitors to watch for panic attacks.

Officials say the men are so giddy with confidence they were squabbling on Saturday over who would get to be the last to take a
twisting, 20-minute ride to the surface in an escape capsule.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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