The first of 33 trapped Chilean miners was raised to the surface at 11:11 p.m. ET Tuesday after 69 days underground.

Florencio Avalos, 31, who is married with two children, stepped out of the metal rescue capsule moments later as the crowd cheered and horns blew. He was greeted with hugs from his fellow miners.

Avalos was raised more than 600 metres through a rescue shaft while strapped inside a 190-centimetre by 54-centimetre capsule. His journey began at 10:55 p.m. ET and took just 16 minutes.