Trapped Chilean Miners: Drilling of Rescue Tunnel To Begin This Weekend

VIDEO: Trapped Miners in
WATCH Inside the Mine in Chile

Family members of the 33 trapped Chilean miners are breathing easier now that they've seen video of their loved ones.

On Thursday night, newly released video, taken by the men themselves, showed the shelter that they will call home for months. Far from the portrait of misery most were expecting, the men, who have already been trapped for 22 days more than a half mile below ground after a collapse at the mine, are seen in the video smiling as they send messages to family members, joking with one another and belting out the national anthem.

VIDEO: Trapped Miners in ChilePlay
Inside the Mine in Chile: Singing and Dominoes

"Hello to my family, my kids, my wife," one man said. "Thank you for everything."

One of the men, Victor Zamora, teased his fellow miner.

"Get him outside so he can take a shower," joked Zamora.

CLICK HERE to see the video of the miners' shelter.

The men look surprisingly fit, considering they nearly starved for the 17 days before they were discovered -- rationing just 48-hours worth of food.

Chilean Miners: Trapped UndergroundPlay
Chilean Miners: Trapped Underground

The men have worked hard to organize and structure their life underground, setting up a table for dominoes and cards, even gracing one of the walls with the picture of a pretty woman.

Even before being told they might be in the shelter until Christmas, the men seemed to have an indomitable attitude. The first messages sent up when they were discovered were those of thanks, hope and love to family members. The miners even requested a bottle of wine so they could celebrate the country's independence day, which is a month away.

"We are super and extremely happy," one of the miners said in Spanish on the grainy video. "And we are sure that with smart people and technology, they will soon get us out."

VIDEO: Officials broke the news to the men as the effort to keep spirits up begins.Play
Trapped Miners Now Know Rescue Will Take Months

Rescue Effort

Rescue workers are moving as quickly as they can. More equipment to drill the rescue tunnel arrived today and workers hope to begin drilling this weekend.

The escape tunnel will be about 26-inches wide and could take weeks, if not months to complete.

In the meantime, workers continue to send down provisions to the men through a 6-inch hole. They've received fresh underwear, wet towels for washing, nicotine gum for smokers. The men are also eating solid foods like cereal bars and bread with jam and applesauce.

All of the men have been told that they need to watch what they eat. To fit in the rescue tunnel, their waist size must be no bigger than 35 inches.

SLIDESHOW: The Trapped: Faces of the Miners

Several companies are now building a mini-video theater for the men. The movies will be carefully selected so as not to disrupt the men's mental state. Officials are also pondering whether or not to send anti-depressant drugs to the men. The five men not seen in the video are suffering from depression, according to the minister of health. They will get arms-length counseling.

Men Connect With Family Members

The 33 men were told the truth about their possible confinement late Tuesday after government officials, with psychologists, determined it would be better for them.

"For the first time yesterday, we talked about the time frame that is involved in the rescue, that as you may know is a three month time frame, 90 days beginning now," Chile's health minister Jaime Manalich said Wednesday.

VIDEO: Trapped Underground in ChilePlay
Chilean Miners Stuck for Months?

As family members on the surface are granted more access to their loved ones below, the emotional fragility of the situation became more and more apparent. By early next week, a permanent phone line will be established so that they can talk with their families.

In El Mercurio, letters from the miners to their families were published. One of the miners, Raul Bustos, told his wife, "The words you sent me made me cry....My God left us alive by a miracle and with a purpose."

On Wednesday, family members erupted in cheers when Chilean President Sebastian Pinera promised to reunite them with the miners, but he warned it will take time. Pinera also offered words of comfort to the miners.

VIDEO: The Wait for Chile Miners RescuePlay
New Holes Drilled to Reach Trapped Miners in Chile

"You will not be forgotten," Pinera told the miners by phone.

Mine Has Poor Safety Record

Chilean officials said Wednesday that the Chilean mine where 33 men remain trapped 2,258 feet below ground has a poor safety record and a history of violations.

Senator Baldo Prokurica, a member of Chile's Senate mining commission, said that the two owners of the mine pushed exploitation beyond safe standards. He said that the five miles of tunnels inside the main shaft of the mine are like "Swiss cheese."

VIDEO: Gov. Joe Manchin weighs in on the challenges ahead and mine safety. Play
W. Va. Governor Joe Manchin on Trapped Miners in Chile

The main shaft of the gold and copper mine runs like a corkscrew under a mountain in Chile's Atacama Desert. Standard rock separation between a mine's various levels is typically 40 feet. In the main shaft of the mine where the August 5 collapse occurred, the levels were separated by a mere 26 feet, making the mine extremely unstable.

A U.S. expert told ABC News that Chile's mine safety record is better than that of the United States, but Chile's president has fired a number of senior mine safety officials and promised to pursue criminal charges in the wake of the mine collapse.

The San Jose Mine is also located on a geological fault, making earthquakes a constant threat. On Wednesday morning, an earthquake struck at the site of the mine. The 4.5 magnitude quake wasn't felt by many and there were no reports of damage.

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Still, rescue workers say the threat of earthquakes and the age of the mine will make drilling the rescue tunnel tricky.

NASA, We Have A Problem

To keep the men mentally and physically healthy, Chilean officials called on space-age help from NASA this week.

The men are trapped in a hot, humid 600-square-foot shelter nearly a half mile below ground. The space is too small and too poorly ventilated for the men to sleep there so they sleep in other parts of the mine. There is no toilet and so the men are using a tunnel further away.

"This situation is very similar to that of the astronauts who are in space stations for months," he health minister told The Santiago Times Tuesday.

A NASA spokesman told The Houston Chronicle the agency was prepared to help and is reportedly considering the best way to do so.

Astronauts on the International Space Station generally spend around six months in very cramped quarters with only a handful of fellow crew members, according to

Psychological counseling was available at the site of the mine as early as Monday, along with doctors to monitor the miners' physical health.

"We all need and are used to a certain amount of physical and psychological space around us," Simon Rego, director of Clinical Training at the American Institute for Cognitive Therapy, told ABC News Monday. "As a result of being trapped, both of these variables will be compromised, along with other 'freedoms' that we normally take for granted."

ABC News' Kim Carollo and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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