SAN JOSE MINE, Chile — Florencio Avalos, the first of 33 miners to be rescued, has surfaced after 69 days underground.

He stepped out of a rescue capsule amid sobs from his young son and received a bracing bear hug from Chilean President Sebastian Pinera.

Avalos smiled widely as he hugged rescuers, then Pinera, and his wife, two sons and father looked on. His seven-year-old son Bairo sobbed, as did Chile's first lady, Cecilia Morel. Then Avalos was escorted into a medical triage center for the first of a battery of tests.

Manuel Gonzalez, a mining rescue expert with Chile's state copper company Codelco, is the first one down the shaft. Other rescuers will join him to help prepare 33 trapped miners for their journey to safety after 69 days trapped a half-mile underground. (AP)