Yesterday as the Chilean miners, known locally as "The 33", were rescued one by one from the mine the staff, at Mincon, Shannon, celebrated their involvement in their historic rescue mission.
Mincon, a leading manufacturer of rock-drilling equipment, is based in Smithstown Industrial Estate, Shannon, County Clare.
Joe Purcell, the company's engineering manager, told local radio station Clare FM, "We produced the reverse circulation drill that actually drilled the breakthrough hole….Now we can relax a bit, but I think until today everyone’s been holding their breath"
The Irish based company created the drill which allowed the rescue official to gain access to the trapped miners. It penetrated 2296.56-feet of rock.
As the Chilean miners arrived to the surface, having been trapped for 69 days they all seemed in good spirits and happy to greet their family, friends and the rescue crew.
The miners who have been able to receive food, water and other supplied through the hole created by Mincon's drill, seem incredibly strong and the second miner to be brought up Mario Sepulveda (40) vowed immediately that he would be returning to his job underground.
He said "I make a plea to the media to not treat us as like an artist or a show business figure. I would like you to show me how I am: a miner.
"I will continue to work as a miner."
After greeting his family he even made a joke of handing some souvenir rocks to the rescue crew before greeting President Sebastian Pinera.
He continued "I was always sure that it would be beautiful to be up. I always believed that Chile is beautiful too. I trusted the professionals.
"I think I had extraordinary luck. ... I was with God and with the devil — and God took me."
He then jumped up and down to show that he was fit and strong before allowing the medics to examine him. Sepulveda was nicknamed "the presenter" by the rescuers as he took charge of the video communications the miners sent up the hole. He ended each video by saying "Over to you studio".
As the world is relieved that the drilling and rescue mission went without any major difficulties it seems that the miners never lost their faith. As Sepulveda said "I never doubted. I always knew God would rescue us."
Luis Urzua, the group’s 54-year-old foreman, was the last of the 33 men to emerge after the 22-hour rescue mission. As Urzua addressed the Chilean president and the 2,000 onlookers he said “We have done what the entire world was waiting for. The 70 days that we fought so hard were not in vain. We had strength, we had spirit, we wanted to fight, we wanted to fight for our families, and that was the greatest thing.”
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