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Peru's 9 trapped miners could be rescued soon: minister

(Xinhua)

09:12, April 11, 2012

LIMA, April 10 (Xinhua) -- Peru's nine miners, who have been trapped underground for six days, could be freed soon, Minister of Women and Vulnerable Population Ana Jara said on Tuesday.

She told a Peruvian television channel that the miners would be rescued soon, saying the government hoped the good news from the accident site before the end of the day,

"Today will be key, the rescue workers are only three or four meters from the trapped men," said Jara.

Peru's President Ollanta Humala was expected to arrive at the site sometime Tuesday to supervise the rescue efforts.

The nine miners have been trapped since last Thursday in Cabeza de Negro, a makeshift copper mine in Yauca del Rosario district in Peru's Ica region, 303 kilometers south of the capital Lima.

The miners trapped for the sixth day 200 meters below ground in southern Peru remained in good spirits while waiting with optimism to be rescued, one of the miners said Tuesday.

"We are calm and strong," said miner Roger Pariona early Tuesday morning amid expectations they would be rescued by nightfall.

The miners have been communicating with those above ground, and receiving soup and water, through a hose.

Pariona said they could hear the sound of the rescue workers trying to reach them through the rubble of the collapsed shaft.

"We know they are near, we hope they rescue us soon," said Pariona, who has become the group's spokesman.

Meanwhile, the more than 200-meter-long hose has become the lifeline of the miners, supplying them with oxygen, liquefied food, medicine and a means of communication. Some of the miners, ranging in age from 23 to 58, are suffering from stomach infections.

Rescue workers have been working round the clock to try and free the men after an explosion they set off caused the mine to cave in.

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