ICA, Peru (Reuters) - Nine workers trapped inside a wildcat mine in southern Peru were rescued and brought to daylight early on Wednesday after spending almost a week underground.
The men had been stuck about 656 feet below ground since the informal copper-and-gold mine partially collapsed on Thursday. They had been receiving oxygen and liquids through a giant hose that was in place before the accident.
"All of them are healthy but obviously dehydrated and dizzy," President Ollanta Humala said. "They need to get used to the sun still, that's why they are wearing sunglasses."
Miner Jesus Japatinta said he was overwhelmed after walking out alive.
"I spilled tears, happy tears," he said.
Humala, who witnessed the rescue operation, warned informal miners to stay away from abandoned mines like Cabeza de Negro, saying they were dangerous. He also urged informal companies to register their workers and improve safety measures.
The cave-in spurred calls to formalize Peru's vast informal mining sector, which generates as much as $2 billion a year in income, according to private estimates.
(Reporting by Mariana Bazo and Alfredo Loayza; Writing by Caroline Stauffer; Editing by Bill Trott)