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(generated from captions) This program is captioned live. from rock to a safe place. Tonight - They're checking out. Look they're walking out. Incredible whacko. After 14 days in a hell hole, embrace freedom. Todd Russell and Brant Webb God is good, isn't he? of Australian mateship. It's a triumph Lets let out a cheer.

Juanita Phillips with ABC News. Good evening. one of those images, It was one of those moments, that will never be forgotten - of their families - two miners walking into the arms on stretchers. walking, not carried The ABC's Paul Lockyer was there. eerily silent tonight, The Beaconsfield mine stands back two miners from deep below. gone the frenetic activity to bring History was made here today, of a small mining town a day that stretched the emotions and of a nation. joy of seeing two sons returned For the people of Beaconsfield the later in the day was tempered by the grieving who was killed in the rock fall. for miner Larry Knight had desperately wanted to be Todd Russell and Brant Webb at their mates funeral a long and difficult recue mission and their wishes were granted by

that ended in a rush. The moment a nation was waiting for. CHEERING

Unbelievably, from the top of the mine shaft Todd Russell and Brant Webb strode and collected their name tags, that lasted 14 days. symbolising the end of a shift of their families, Then it was straight into the arms

cocooned for so long underground. walking unassisted despite being to thank workmates It was also a time in the rescue. and meet others who helped with their wives, The men were ushered into ambulances Brant Webb throwing off his boots hugging the children while Todd Russell continued to never seeing again. he came so close CHEERING a reception from hundreds of people. Outside the mine gates waited The men waved to well wishers, "They can't kill me". Brant Webb calling out, You do get emotional, don't you? They've done it tough. Last night, and potentially most dangerous metre digging started on the last of the rescue operation. There wasn't the amount of rubble we thought there might be working on our side. so for once we had something inching through hard rock, There have been days of frustration

but the break through came quickly making first contact with the rescuers through the floor of the rock fall. It was just a little crack/ It was just a little crack. freedom about a 4:45 this morning. Brant Webb was the first to take eight minutes later. Todd Russell followed for quite a while. so they have had their bags packed went underground Mine Manager Matthew Gill

accused of lying down on the job. to meet the men he'd jokingly I just said, "Welcome".

With their imprisonment over from the escape tunnel the miners were driven for medical assessment. to a crib room further up the mine but they've done really well. They've survived a tremendous ordeal Their stamina's got them through it. they've longed for. They also got the shower pretty well. They wanted to pamper themselves up CHURCH BELL PEALS since the end of World War II A church bell that hasn't sounded told Beaconsfield the men were out.

and praise God, It's just unbelievable and townspeople The local pub was packed by rescuers as the celebrations began. there was another heroes welcome At the Launceston General Hospital for the freed miners. would soon be brought home to them. But their own good luck We have the excitement of the rescue to Larry. but the sadness of saying farewell

the funeral of Larry Knight, This afternoon the pair attended in the rock fall. their workmate who died It's just fate, you know. on the media circus. The tent has already started to fold to investigations into the rockfall But here the tension will soon turn and the mine's future, of this old gold mining town. a new chapter in the story Beaconsfield. Gary Magnussen, ABC News, of the accident in the mine From the moment news

been buffeted by all the emotions. came two weeks ago Beaconsfield has that followed the revelation The celebrations had survived that Todd Russell and Brant Webb in the town was followed by a nervous tension as the rescue mission dragged on. were uncorked today. All those tensions CHEERING After two gut wrenching weeks, the people of Beaconsfield their men. were finally able to welcome home shared their elation Hundreds of onlookers with Todd Russell and Brant Webb. Heroes, just heroes. Absolutely. Congratulations. So pleased. and they've done it - It's been a bloody long ride they've just had each other. that they're out safely. We're just so thrilled It's fantastic news. happened - getting these boys out. It's the greatest thing that's ever won't forget. A moment the men's families my sister's face Just so happy to see

were just full of smiles and those children's faces to see their dad again. It was a miracle to start with. it's just what dreams are made of. That's all I could think of, and now SIRENS WAIL the men were close to freedom. Bells and sirens rang out to signal the time had come. The mining town knew being opened The doors of the ambulance as he went down the street and Brant Webb waving to everybody expected that? you know who would have And the emotion poured out, it really did. so did the crowds. As the men left the mine, reflection and thanks. There were moments of joy, and throughout the world For all the people of our nation on this journey - thank you. that have been with us died down the strets went quiet, After the car horns and sirens but not the hotels. Awesome. Yeah? Yeah, bloody oath. can you? You can't explain it really, Just look at everyone in here, what can I say? Excellent. (laughs) It's been a rollercoaster of emotions looking like that, just so well. and today, to get those blokes out Yeah, the town's exploded. More than $1,000 was put over the bar within an hour of the men being freed. So the drinks will flow all day then? I reckon they will. Do you know when you'll be shutting? Tomorrow, I reckon. Those who took part in ther rescue savouring a well-deserved beer.

And then Burnsy got a small hole through to the boys, then it just gave us that hope to keep pushing, and we just made the hole bigger and bigger and finally got them out. It was just amazing. You couldn't possibly explain how good it is, the same as how everyone's actually feeling. Just fantastic that they're out. But throughout the excitement, the passing of Larry Knight was never far from mind. Poor old Larry, he paid the ultimate price. It's a shame but... Larry won't be forgotten., he won't. The beers will flow for Mr Knight, as well as the freed miners, throughout the night. Jessica Longbottom, ABC News, Beaconsfield. The last act in the Beaconsfield saga was played out this afternoon. The people gathered to finally bid farewell to Larry Knight who was killed in the Anzac Day mining accident. Townsfolk, minies and bikers were amongst the mourners. Several hundred people gathered at St John's church in Launceston to pay their last respects to a man described as gentle, laid back and patient. They had quite a bit to say about Larry and I bet he would've loved to hear it all, because Larry was a larrikin. He just enjoyed life, loved his children and everything and I think the service was just very fitting. Todd Russell and Brant Webb discharged themselves from hospital so they could say goodbye to their work-mate. Larry Knight's friends and family spoke of a dedicated family man who was loved by all who knew him. After the excitement of today's rescue, the ceremony reminded people of the tragedy that also occurred in the mine. A very sombre occasion, but a proud occasion where a proud miner was remembered by his mates. The service contained a special message from Mr Knight's partner Jackie and his three children, thanking everyone for their support and messages of sympathy. Members of the God Squad Motorcycle Club escorted their friend to the cemetery. MOTORBIKE ENGINES REV Many said it would have made Larry Knight proud. Melissa Lewarn, ABC News. The final chapter - the rescue began last night when a probe with pinpoint accuracy broke into the cavity. The tunneling that followed was a mix of hi-tech tools, bare hands and larrikin humour. Last night, rescuers began the vertical thrust to the floor of the tiny cavern which sheltered the men. followed by a series of probes They drilled a narrow bore hole, guided precisely by images from a camera operated by Webb and Russell. Around tea time, when most Australians are sitting down to dinner, a probe went through and a probe was just assessing how thick the dirt and the rock was, and low and behold, it's gone through. Rescuers then used a cone-shaped hydraulic splitter and low-impact explosives to fracture 300mm of solid rock. It was painstakingly slow. load a hole, charge a hole, and basically, each time I loaded, before I fired, I'd ring Brant or Todd and we'd talk on the phone

and we'd count down together,, so they could brace themselves for the blast. And after they got out, they told me I hit them about three times with scats, but they forgive me. (All laugh) The remaining 600mm of loose material was cleared by hand from below with Russell and Webb assisting from above. You know, they are so close and you really want to rush in but everyone knew they had to stop and take their time and do it properly. We just kept chiselling away and made the hole bigger for them to come out. Soon as we got a bit of a hole there, and shook their hand. I put my hand up The hole was broken open just wide enough to allow a paramedic in, then the men were stretchered out to start the kilometre-long trip to the surface and reunion with their families. Tony Hull, ABC News. This is an ordeal that has changed the lives of the miners and their families forever. Considering what they went through they looked in amazing shape this morning. But experts say they'll have to deal with possible psychological fallout, as well as their newfound celebrity status. The strength the men displayed when they walked out of the mine shocked medical experts as much as it did their friends and relatives. It's certainly miraculous they're in the condition they're in. The main concern of doctors at Launceston General Hospital is how they will hold up mentally in the coming weeks. I think the issue will be any untoward side effects that might occur outside even a more controlled environment. Much depends on how the pair cope with their instant stardom. Everyone is lining up to speak to them from Brant Webb's favourite music group, the Foo Fighters, to the Prime Minister. I'd like to talk to them, but I think they want to spend a bit of time with their family and their friends. Long before the pair set eyes on the media contingent, a bidding war had begun

for exclusive rights to their interviews. They're being chased by the media agent who secured deals with Thredbo survivor Stuart Diver and James Scott who was lost for 43 days in the Himalayas. It is speculated the men's story will be worth more than the record $400,000 paid to Iraqi hostage Douglas Wood for an interview. The public interest factor is huge and these guys are coming out of the dark into the blinding light, in a sense, and that's going to need some careful consideration. Grief and trauma specialist Colleen Jackson believes the whole community will be forever changed by the experience. She predicts some tough times ahead. We're all different and some of the tolerance that will need to happen will be important in recovery. A recovery team has been set up to help the community re-adjust over the next few months. Angela Cameron, ABC News.

The dramatic events in Tasmania completely overshadowed Federal Budget day in Canberra. Like everyone else, the country's political leaders expressed their delight at the rescue of the miners. I know that I speak for all Australians in expressing relief and joy and gratitude that Grant Webb and Todd Russell have been brought to the surface. They appear to be in remarkable health and we ought to give thanks to everybody responsible for this great achievement. It has been a triumph of Australian mateship. We have, we Australians, just witnessed a rolled gold miracle and a great Australian epic, an epic of mateship and an epic of family, people taking responsibility for each other, of skill - this is something which has warmed the hearts of Australians all over the country. my fellow Tasmanians today I know that I speak for all when I say how thrilled we are that Todd and Brant are safe and well

and reunited with their families, but also the sadness that we all feel in our hearts that Larry sadly lost his life

and we send our condolences to Jacky and the whole Knight family. The Prime Minister has offered financial help for the Knight family and assistance for the local community if the mine remains closed for an extended period. We should leave the last word from Beaconsfield to the mayor who has been here from the beginning.

Barry, tell us how do you sum up

this day? It's been a day of very

mixed emotions. We rejoiced at

seeing the two boys come up from

underneath and come to the surface

and embrace their families and

and embrace their families and their friends and their workmates. There

were wonderful scenes here at

Beaconsfield this morning, full of

cheers and a lot of tears. And what

does it mean for the nation, this

story? What do you think it

represents for the nation? Oh, it

represents a real success story of

represents a real success story of a rescue mission in a mine undertaken

by new means and new methods and

quite innovative and two weeks is a

long time to be underground and a

long time waiting to be rescued and

this was a fantastic result. Mayor

Barry Easther thanks for your time

again and over these past two weeks.

Thank you. Incidentally the Prime

Minister announced today there

Minister announced today there would be a reception in Canberra shortly

for all of those involved in the

amazing rescue effort here and that

is all from Beaconsfield. Now to other news. Two men are dead and one is still missing after a massive blast at an explosives factory in SA. Emergency services have cordoned off the area, west of the town of Gladstone. The factory's been flattened, and authorities say it's still too dangerous to search the blast site.

Just as Beaconsfield celebrated its great escape, another small country town struck tragedy. A huge blast leveled the explosives plant and everything else nearby. The factory is obliterated. It's a rather large explosion. The explosion just after midday could be heard for kilometres and shattered windows. Some nearby residents feared an earthquake. I was just down in the farmyard at home and it just shook things, yeah. Five men had been mixing chemicals to make explosives when something went wrong. In the confusion after the blast, two bodies were discovered. Another man was trapped under heavy machinery and was pulled to safety. He suffered shrapnel wounds to his face and legs and was airlifted to the Royal Adelaide Hospital, along with another injured colleague. Part of his leg's missing. The other bloke that was with him, Emergency Services were unable to enter the blast site for several hours for fear of more explosions.

The bomb squad arrived from Adelaide to clear the area just as families and friends of employees were ushered to a safe area and offered counselling. The factory is owned by Quin Investments, which produces explosives for mining and industry and munitions for the defence forces. Nick Harmsen, ABC News. The Treasurer is about to deliver his 11th Federal Budget, promising tax relief for middle-income earners and families. Leaks have continued right to the end - the latest - a $500,000 plan to save the Murray River. Political correspondent Jim Middleton. Dripping with cash -

the trickle of Budget leaks is becoming a flood. You're always doing tricks on me. Today's trick was a pledge to spend an extra $500 million to salvage the River Murray, Australia's number one environmental problem... For wetlands, for consumption, particularly in South Australia and for irrigators.

..increasing water in the river by 500 gigalitres. It should be 3,000 megalitres. The Treasurer's also on track to spend $250 million to fix up the nation's rickety rail system as part of a big boost to transport, including roads and export bottlenecks. The mining boom's blessed the Government with record revenues. Tonight, there'll be more generous family payments, more money for child care and measures to encourage mothers to return to the work force. There'll be tax cuts for all, with the focus on the so-called Howard Battlers. But with so much money sloshing around the coffers, there are likely to be tax cuts for high-income earners, too. But not enough, says Kim Beazley, to protect taxpayers from what he calls the triple whammy... Petrol price rises, interest rates rises and industrial relations wage cuts. well as highlighting surging foreign debt. It's pretty easy to manage a Budget when the good times are rolling, but tonight, Peter Costello may be making a rod for his back. What the Government gives away now will be but a fraction of what voters will demand in pre-election goodies next year. Jim Middleton, ABC News, Canberra. To finance now - and a weaker mining sector held the Australian share market back today. the day just two points ahead. The All Ordinaries index finished Toll Holdings rose, not bid for Patrick Corporation. after Macquarie Bank said it would

announced Shopping centre giant Westfield its American shopping malls. the sale of seven of Cazaly Resources jumped higher, on news it was selling its uranium assets On the commodities markets - in New York. crude oil fell below US$70 a barrel

against the US currency - The Australian dollar was firmer it's worth just under US$0.77. In Federal Parliament, illegal boat arrivals offshore legislation to send all for processing, within Government ranks. has run into problems have refused to support the move Several Coalition MP's and Senators in a party room meeting, of reacting to Indonesian anger with the Government accused over people fleeing West Papua. Government's made this decision. The PM made it clear that the used as a staging point You know, we're not going to be for protests about domestic issues in other countries.

Last weekend, in the Torres Strait three more Papuans were intercepted

trying to reach mainland Australia. to Papua New Guinea, The Government wants to return them over last year's Bali bombings The trial of four men charged

has begun in Denpasar. terrorist leader Noordin Top They're accused of helping regional restaurants in October last year. plan the attack on three tourist the death penalty if convicted. The defendants could face the 20 people killed Four Australians were among by three suicide bombers. minister for the Solomon Islands The man named as the new police with inciting last month's riots. has appeared in court charged Charles Dausabea was denied bail.

after the riots He was named as police minister of former PM Snyder Rini. which prompted the resignation has nominated US President George W. Bush as CIA chief Air Force general Michael Hayden who resigned three days ago. to replace Porter Goss, But a political battle is looming, already saying with some congress members they oppose having a military man in charge of the civilian spy agency. The embattled British PM, Tony Blair, when he will leave office, is refusing to say

would paralyse the government. saying that setting a timetable he name the date, Rebel Labor MPs are demanding will promise but all the prime minister plenty of time is to give his successor before the next election. but with plenty of fight left, Under fire the rug from under his critics, Britain's Prime Minister pulled when he's ready. telling them he'll go orderly transition to a new leader. I've said there will be a stable and I will see that this is done of the country, because it's in the interests of this country but it is also in the interests with the business of governing. that in the meantime we get on more challenging fortnights, It's been one of his

in local elections with a poor result and a controversial reshuffle. to bow to pressure But Mr Blair refused to set a deadline for his departure. To state a timetable now the proper working of government. would simply paralyse to vent their views, There seems no end to those prepared from the Opposition. and no let-up running out of ideas, Running out of the steam, divided from top to bottom. But the Prime Minister insisted he's still at the helm, despite recent setbacks, at least in public, still just that. with his trusted lieutenant, to his critics, Mr Blair has responded he's effectively silenced them but it's uncertain whether or not Chancellor Gordon Brown, and if his right-hand man, turns on him or remains loyal. Jane Hutcheon, ABC News, London. Sydney detectives

of Diane Brimble on a cruise ship investigating the death

to interview seven men have flown to Adelaide in the case. considered to be of interest The trip comes former husband criticised police after Diane Brimble's the Adelaide group for failing to question and another man in Sydney. the coronial inquiry into her death. All were identified in at one point I'd become frustrated to the NSW police commissioner where I decided I would write and I emailed them directly that I didn't get any response. and I was quite surprised to find board the 'Pacific Sky' in 2002 Ms Brimble died on

and the drug known as GHB. from a mixture of alcohol and eight men. She'd been partying with friends next month. The inquest is due to resume so far given no indication The men identified have

that they're willing to help. is about to get a whole lot harder. Catching a Sydney ferry The State Government says to be cancelled from now on, commuters can expect more services

enough marine engineers because it can't find to keep the ferries running.

are in for a rough ride. Sydney's weary ferry commuters as well as we can We will rearrange services to make sure that a service runs. a worldwide lack of engineers The Government's blaming for the disruption. and a new safety regime

Sydney Ferries is stuck with an ageing work force - uncompetitive salaries of marine engineers very difficult. makes recruiting the next generation do understand I hope that the travelling public are outside our direct control. that many of these matters across Australia and overseas. We are, however, recruiting actively no excuse for a lack of planning. The Opposition says there's This latest shortage of engineers with train drivers - mirrors what occurred the State Government simply not planning for the future the people who suffer are commuters. and as a result an increasingly unreliable service. Commuters have been putting up with In just three years, has doubled to reach almost 2000. the number of cancelled ferry trips with our ferry service What the government's doing is death by a thousand cuts.

on the roads, It's putting more people to Sydney congestion problem. it's adding the embarrassing incidents - Then there are the wharf at Circular Quay the 'Collaroy' slamming into twice in six months. It's been out of action since September. Simon Santow, ABC News, Sydney. The weather now with Mike Bailey. Thanks, Juanita. Good evening. Another cold night ahead,

and another change on the way for the south. It was cold this morning, down to -1 at Richmond, and Sydney's low of 9 was 4-below average - rising to 22 - for a maximum that's 1-above. Right now: Around the State:

Generally dry picture across the State. Around the nation: On the satellite: showers and mountain snow for Hobart.

The ridge of high pressure will lead to a southerly on the coast. A strong wind warning on the coast of NSW. The outlook: Looking at the coastal waters: The outlook: And before we go And that's ABC news. I'm Juanita Phillips. Stay with us now for the Treasurer's Budget speech.

That'll be followed by a news summary, and a '7:30 Report' Budget special. 'Lateline' will have full analysis of the Budget just after 10:30pm, along with the latest from Tasmania. We'll leave you now with images of 14 days in Tasmania that will never be forgotten. A survival story that almost defies belief Goodnight. It has now been more than 15 hours since the collapse We hold grave fears for our three colleagues. NEWSREADER: Rescue crews worked around the clock... One body was found during the rescue process at the Beaconsfield mine site. They're alive, they're talking to us, they've contacted them and they're going to get them out.

This was meant to be. Do not underestimate the difficulties in getting them out safely. PAUL LOCKYER: Oh, look, they're checking out.

OK and there they go, the boys are out of the mine and they're on their way. Closed Captions produced by Captioning and Subtitling International Pty Ltd