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Chile Workers Reinforce Miners' Escape Shaft

Rescue workers insert steel pipes to encase the escape tunnel that will be used to free trapped miners at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile Sunday, Oct. 10, 2010.

Chilean workers are reinforcing an escape shaft that will be used to rescue 33 miners trapped underground for more than two months.

Workers began placing lengths of metal tube into the shaft Sunday, to ensure that a specially made rescue capsule will not snag as it moves up and down the shaft, bringing the miners up one at a time.

Chile's mining minister Laurence Golborne says the rescue will likely begin on Wednesday, after a pulley system is installed.

The drill digging the escape shaft finally broke through to the miners' underground chamber on Saturday, sparking celebrations among rescue workers and family members waiting for the miners to be brought back to safety.

In a drama that unfolded before television cameras from around the world, bells rang and sirens blared signaling that the escape shaft had been completed.

Engineers embraced and jumped for joy. Relatives waiting at what has been nicknamed "Camp Hope" laughed and cried. Some described the moment as "overwhelming."

The miners have been trapped since part of the mine collapsed on August 5. Crews have been sending food, water, games, letters and other items to the men through small supply shafts.

A team of 16 paramedics and rescue experts has been preparing to help bring the miners to the surface. Authorities say some of the team will join the miners underground to make their journey as easy as possible.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.