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Chile miners have country rallying around hope of rescue

Up and down the capital of Santiago, drivers honked their horns as news emerged that the 33 trapped Chile miners remain alive. Helping the miners persevere mentally may now be the greatest task, as rescue efforts could stretch to Christmas.

Relatives of miners trapped in a collapsed mine react after knowing that they were found alive in Copiapo, northern Chile. The Chile miners have been trapped below the surface of the mine since the main access collapsed.

Hector Retamal/AP

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From the president to the produce vendors, Chile is rallying as rescue workers embark on what could be a months-long attempt to save 33 miners already trapped for 17 days in a copper mine.

The discovery Sunday that the men were still alive elated Chileans. Up and down the capital of Santiago, drivers honked their horns as news emerged over car radios that the men have been huddled in a 500-sq.-ft. refuge some 2,300 feet underground since rock collapsed around them on Aug. 5.

“I cried with happiness. I had thought they were all dead,” says Jessica Marambio, who sells candy from a street kiosk in Santiago, adding that she will continue praying for their safety.

IN PICTURES: Chile mine collapse

People from across the world's No. 1 copper-producing nation have reached out to the anxious families. From the nearby coast, fishermen presented freshly caught fish to anxious family members outside the mine in Copiapo, 500 miles north of Santiago. Roman Catholic Church masses on Sunday reflected on the unfolding events, and on Saturday a Catholic youth progression began with a moment of silence for the men.

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