The Conversation: On the Ground in Chile

With miners near rescue, ABC's Jeffrey Kofman reports from Camp Hope in Chile.

Oct. 11, 2010— -- At the San Jose mine in Chile, the excitement is at a fever pitch. Rescue crews have finished drilling the hole that will be used to pull the 33 trapped miners to safety after spending the past two months entombed underground.

ABC's Jeffrey Kofman is at Camp Hope, the large camp that has been built to house relatives, rescue crews and the press corps there to witness the rescue. Today, Kofman gave a tour of Camp Hope to ABC's Linsey Davis on the Conversation.

"This is one of those rare stories in the world where everyone is rooting for survival," said Kofman, "and everyone is just awed by the technology and the ingenuity and the determination of the Chileans, with international help, to make it happen."

The men will be pulled to the surface one-by-one in a small rescue capsule, not much larger than the width of a basketball hoop. The miners will wear special sunglasses, out of fear that the bright daylight could blind them after weeks lived in darkness.

Once at the surface, they will be sent to a clinic that has been built on the site. At least 10 of the miners have become ill in the brutal heat and humidity underground.

"If everything goes according to plan, the first man should probably be coming to the surface sometime on Wednesday, and it should all be done by Thursday," Kofman said.

The miners' saga has drawn phenomenal interest from around the world. Roughly, a thousand journalists have showed up at the remote desert mine to witness the rescue, and the BBC is broadcasting the event 24/7.

"It is probably the most technically complex rescue ever attempted in history," Kofman said. "The only parallel is Apollo 13, so the interest around the world is just staggering."

We hope you'll watch today's Conversation for more from Camp Hope.

Watch more "Conversation" videos here.

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