Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Newsy: Miners Could be Trapped Until Christmas

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After nearly three weeks of searching, rescuers found 33 men trapped in a collapsed Chile mine. Now officials say it may take four months to get them out.
“A camera lowered deep into the mine shaft, nearly 2,300 feet revealed just darkness at first... and then this: a face. After a desperate 17 day-long search, rescuer workers rejoiced.” (CBS)
A miracle in a Chilean mine. Thirty-three miners trapped 2,300 feet underground for nearly three weeks... are all O.K..
Rescue workers were finally able to drill a hole through solid rock. They lowered a probe into the darkness and when they pulled it out — a note was attached. A reporter for NBC’s Today Show has the details: “With great delight Chilean President Sebastion Pinera raised the miners’ hopeful words in the air: ‘All 33 of us are fine in the shelter’. One miner wrote in great detail of their living conditions explaining how they dug a channel to reach underground water and how they’ve used vehicles for light.”
The emergency shelter within the mine only had enough supplies to last 48 hours, so after 17 days of searching, rescuers were about to give up hope. Fox News’ Steve Harrigan explains how hard it was to reach the miners and what’s next in the rescue effort.
Steve Harrigan: “Now it did take eight tries to try and find that shelter with a drill bit, apparently there are some complaints about this company that the maps were out of date. What’s next is going to have to be a larger hole being drilled, about 27 inches in diameter. This could take up to four months.”
The company that runs the mine has come under fire since the collapse. The Chilean newspaper The Santiago Times reports before rescuers found the trapped miners, the Chilean government was already chipping away at the faulty mining system: “San Esteban, has been criticized over the past several weeks, as has... the national mining regulatory body, after it was reported the mine had been closed in the past over safety concerns. Piñera fired top officials from (the regulatory body) following the collapse and has called for a restructuring of the organization.”
Now all efforts are focused on making sure the miners stay physically — and mentally — healthy. Rescuers will be able to lower emergency supplies to the trapped men. But The Guardian interviewed a U.S. mining expert who says the stress of being trapped underground is the real concern. He explained... "There is a psychological pattern there that we've looked at; however, they've established communication with the guys; there are people who can talk them through that."
Though the real rescue may not come until Christmas, for now in Chile — celebrations.
WRITTEN BY: Mallory Perryman





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