Chile freed the last of 33 miners from imprisonment nearly half a mile underground late Wednesday, the miracle of a second chance at life made real by the methodical shuttle of a battered red, white and blue rescue capsule willed on by a joyful nation and global audience of hundreds of millions.
The president, the foreman and rescue workers then joined in a rousing rendition of Chile's national anthem. With all of the miners safe, jubilation also broke out in the main square of Copiapo, the state capital 40 miles from the mine and home to most of the miners. More than 3,000 people crowded the plaza to watch the final rescue on giant TV monitors, Los Angeles Times reports.
During the rescue operation, Pinera and Mining Minister Laurence Golbourne had both vowed to improve Chile's laws on worker safety - not just for miners but for all workers.
The meeting of the miner's leader and Chile's president was an emotional one. Pinera said: "Chile today is not the same country that it was 69 days ago. The miners are not the same as those men who were trapped on the 5th August. They are stronger, and they are a lesson to us all."
The crowd broke into song, roaring out the Chilean national anthem, according to euronews.