The 33 Chilean miners trapped underground for two months could be freed within 10 days, the country's president said yesterday.
Rescuers estimate a relief tunnel could reach the men, trapped 2,300ft beneath the Atacama desert, within the next two days. They have been there since August 5. President Sebastian Pinera said his government is "very close" to freeing the miners and he hopes to be there to see the rescue before leaving on a trip to Europe, Mirror informs.
Despite delays and breakdowns to the three drills racing to reach the men surviving in a shelter some 700 metres down, progress has been swift.
Since being discovered alive, the men have been rebuilding their strength and helping with the rescue effort. They have had about a kilometer of tunnel to walk around and have been surviving on food sent through small holes drilled from the surface, euronews says.
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea