SAN JOSE MINE (AFP) - Pumping their fists, or falling to their knees in prayer, more than half of the 33 Chile miners trapped below ground for weeks savoured their first tastes of freedom Wednesday, rising from the depths to a heros welcome. Dario Segovia became the 20th miner to be pulled safe and sound from the depths of a Chilean mine in a landmark rescue operation followed avidly around the world. The 48-year-old drill operator, who is married and the father of three children, was pulled to the surface shortly before 1900 GMT, some 17 hours after the dramatic rescue at the San Jose mine in northern Chile began. Omar Reygadas, 56, fell to his knees, hoisting his Bible above his head, after stepping from the rescue capsule which brought him up from the depths of the mine which collapsed on August 5. Cheers erupted and tears flowed as each of the men stepped from the specially-designed rescue capsule, dubbed Phoenix, to be embraced by their loved ones, hugging their rescuers as well as Chilean President Sebastian Pinera. The methodical rescue kicked off around midnight when 31-year-old Florencio Avalos was the first to be hauled to the surface, rising up through 622 meters of rock. Joyous celebrations erupted among hundreds of waiting relatives as after a 10-week tense ordeal which began with the mine cave-in on August 5, Avalos became the first to step from the capsule. He hugged his seven-year-old son, his wife Monica, then Pinera and other officials before being taken to hospital for medical tests. A second miner, Mario Sepulveda, 40, soon followed, admitting: I have been with God and with the devil. I fought between the two. I seized the hand of God, it was the best hand. I always knew God would get us out of there. Despite fears for the health of some of the 33 men, they all appeared to be in good condition, although psychiatrists have warned the mental scars could be longer term. Among the first half-dozen out were Carlos Mamani, a 23-year-old Bolivian who was the only person in the group not from Chile, and Jimmy Sanchez, who at 19 was the youngest of the trapped men. The oldest man in the group, Mario Gomez, 63, became the ninth to emerge, fitted with a special mask to combat his breathing problems. The mens rescue marks the final stage of a record-breaking two-month drama, during which they awaited rescue at the bottom of the mine with the world captivated by their daily hopes and fears. Pinera, whose short presidency had been totally consumed by the drama of the mineworkers, said the operation was without comparison in the history of humanity.