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Haircuts and heels: Miners' wives race to look their best

As the countdown to the rescue of 33 miners begins in Chile, the men’s partners start their own preparations…

PREPARATIONS ARE UNDERWAY at Camp Hope – the makeshift tent village assembled at the mouth of mining shaft of the San Jose mine in Chile’s Atacama desert.

The BBC reports how the wives and girlfriends of the miners trapped below the surface, who have been living at the camp for more than two months now, are making arrangements for the mens’ release – new haircuts, high heels and a little lingerie.

All the preparations are taking place ahead of the rescue mission, which is due to start at midnight local time (4am Irish time).

One of the women, whose partner proposed to her via video link from below the surface, spoke to the BBC about how she has been preparing for her fiance’s release.

Christina Nunez said that she was given two sets of lingerie by a woman who owns a nearby shop; one is a devil set, complete with a cape and horns – and the other is a white, bride set. “I’ll be a little devil on the first night after the rescue,” she said, “and a bride on the wedding night.”

Nunez said that she couldn’t wait to see her fiance Claudio Yanez and “cover him with kisses”.

Lingerie shop owner Angelica Pina travelled 450 miles from Santiago to the mine site, bringing her collection from her shop in Santiago, reports the Telegraph.

“I stock the sexiest clothes in Chile,” she said, “I thought it would be great to give the miners and their partners something to have fun with.”

Pina said the women had each been invited to look through her collection and choose an outfit. “Some went for nurse, schoolgirl, bunny, or sailor,” she said. “But the most popular was a little red riding hood outfit.”

Lilian Ramirez, who is also due to walk down the aisle with her partner Mario Gomez – after 30 years of being together – says that she will buy a new dress for the occasion: “Something simple, yet elegant, and some high heels to go with it”.

And, if she manages to sneak away for a few moments, Ramirez says she’ll take one of the daily buses to Copiapo and get her hair done.

The prayers of those waiting above the surface will intensify tonight, as rescue operators begin the attempt to haul each of their loved ones 2,041 ft to the surface, one at a time.

As each man is brought to the surface, he will be given an initial medical check by a crew standing by. He will then be reunited with up to three family members before being taken to a nearby hospital to receive further treatment.

If the rescue mission goes smoothly, all 33 men will be on the surface within 16 hours.

The men have been trapped below the surface since a tunnel collapse on 5 August.

Read what happens next for the miners >