For more than two months, 66 Chilean miners have been trapped nearly a mile below the surface. But almost immediately, the workers were able to send word that they were safe. So food, water, and ancillary things were sent to them. But in the meantime, that nation’s government has been relentless in trying to get them out. This morning, school bells rang indicating that the drilling has reached the men, and that rescue efforts may commence as soon as they are assured that it is safe to transmit the men to the surface. See the video of the news below.

Chile's first lady Cecilia Morel (L) is welcomed by Mining Minister Laurence Golborne during her arrival at the San Jose copper and gold mine where 33 miners are trapped deep underground inside the mine from an accident on August 5, near Copiapo October 8, 2010. REUTERS/Luis Hidalgo (CHILE - Tags: BUSINESS ENERGY DISASTER ENVIRONMENT)

The crowd, which has been outside the rescue headquarters for the 66 days, began chanting Ole Chile and singing the nation’s national anthem. It stormed the engineers to embrace and kiss them in a scene of pure joy.

Now that the drill has reached the men, the next step is to determine if the gap must be reinforced so that their removal can be completed safely. Mining Minister Laurence Golborne has been in front of television cameras almost constantly, as a reassuring presence for the nations and the families of the workers. He said this morning that he hopes that rescue efforts could actually begin on Tuesday, if the hole does not have to be lined.

The next step is to send a camera down the shaft to determine if more needs to be done prior to sending in rescue teams. Then a few rescuers will be sent down to assist the miners by telling them what they need to do to assist in their rescue and helping any who may be injured or sickly. A decision is being made now on which miners will be rescued first, dividing them based on physical condition, mental condition, and skill level. The government anticipates that each trip in the rescue vehicle, the Phoenix, will take about 11 minutes.

As someone who spent more than a few years in West Virginia, I know that when a mine collapse occurs, the entire state holds their breath and prays waiting for news of the miners. In this case, everyone in Chile did the same. It seems like their prayers were answered today.

Watch the video of the breaking story here. Arriba Mineros.