Freedom at last!
Miners Todd Russell and Brant Webb have finally been freed from the underground prison where they have been trapped for 14 days.
The jubilant pair, arms raised in victory, emerged from the mine in amazing condition at 5.59am, walking out of the elevator like they had just come off shift.
They were checked over by medical teams before being brought to the surface. The men were described as being "very chipper".
Their fitness, scored at three out of a possible four, so impressed their rescuers that some colleagues speculated they might attend today's funeral of fellow miner Larry Knight, who was killed by the rock fall that trapped the men. News of the rescue triggered jubilation in Beaconsfield, with cheers and the sound of the mine's siren ending days of tense expectation.
The local church bell, which had not rung since World War II, tolled three times.
Hundreds of locals lined the street to welcome home the trapped men.
Australian Workers Union National Secretary Bill Shorten said: "The great escape's over".
"I'm just glad it's over", Mr Shorten said.
The good news came after rescue teams spent the night drilling upwards into the chamber where they had been trapped by a rockfall on Anzac Day (April 25).
A probe drilled up through the rock last night confirmed rescuers were heading in the right direction and this morning the trapped miners finally had their freedom.
Mine manager Matthew Gill revealed that the rescue tunnel had been so accurate that when they broke through they could actually touch the trapped men.
Both were reported to be safe and well, and were taken to Launceston Hospital after emerging.