rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » News » Trapped for 21 days, rescue 4 months away

Trapped for 21 days, rescue 4 months away

Last updated on: August 27, 2010 18:07 IST

Trapped for 21 days, rescue 4 months away

     Next

Next

It's been over 21 days since 33 miners have been trapped in a mine in Copiapo, Chile.

Surviving on underground water, the men have been trapped underground longer than all but a few miners in recent history. And to make matters worse, no help is coming their way any sooner.

The 33 miners will need to spend the next four months participating in their own rescue before being pulled out by rope.

Chile's TVN channel said that the digging would result in debris falling into the mineshaft. The miners would then be pulled out, "person by person, using rope," a channel reporter was quoted, as saying.

Click on NEXT to read further....


Image: Relatives of the miners trapped underground in a copper and gold mine, gather around a screen that shows the miners inside the mine at Copiapo
Photographs: Ivan Alvarado/Reuters
     Next

Trapped for 21 days, rescue 4 months away

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

"They will need to help with their own rescue, because they will need to clear out debris that falls through from that excavation. They will need to clear out the material and facilitate the work being done on the surface," he said.

Meanwhile, families of the trapped miners heaved a sigh of relief after the miners left a note confirming that they are 'all fine'. 

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera held up a plastic bag containing a message from the miners trapped in a collapsed mine that read in Spanish 'All 33 of us are fine in the shelter' in Copiapo, Chile.

Authorities and relatives of the miners hugged, climbed a nearby hill, planted 33 flags and sang the national anthem on Sunday last after a probe sent some 2,257 feet (688 meters) deep into the mine came back with the note.


Image: A relative of one of the miners trapped underground in a copper and gold mine, shows a video of a miner on her mobile phone that was recorded from inside the mine in Copiapo
Photographs: Ivan Alvarado/Reuters
Prev     Next

Trapped for 21 days, rescue 4 months away

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

The first video footage of the Chilean miners showed the men in good spirits, singing the national anthem and chanting, "Long live Chile, and long live the miners."

The men shot the video with a camera sent down to them through a small shaft drilled to their emergency shelter in the San Jos mine.

Five minutes of what is understood to be a 45-minute video were released late yesterday by the Chilean government.

In the grainy, night-vision footage, the men appear stripped to the waist and with thick beards.


Image: Relatives of the miners trapped underground in a copper and gold mine gather around a screen that shows miners inside the mine
Photographs: Ivan Alvarado/Reuters
Prev     Next

Trapped for 21 days, rescue 4 months away

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Rescue workers have been lowering capsules of glucose, hydration gels, liquid nutrients, communication equipment and medicine down a 2,257 feet bore hole to the bottom of the San Jose mine, where the men have been trapped for the last 18 days.

Officials have described the bore-hole, which is just 8 centimeters wide, as an 'umbilical cord' for the miners. It will be key to keeping them healthy while a bigger hole is drilled as an escape route for the men, who are trapped in a shelter around 52 square meters, the size of a small apartment.

Rescuers also plan another shaft to ensure ventilation. The miners are thought to be enduring temperatures as high as 32 Celsius.

Widening the existing hole is also an option, although officials said excavating a 65 centimeter wide rescue tunnel would take between three and four months.


Image: Relatives of the miners trapped underground in a copper and gold mine, gather around a screen that shows miners inside the mine
Photographs: Ivan Alvarado/Reuters
Prev     Next

Trapped for 21 days, rescue 4 months away

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Experts predicted the men would probably survive the ordeal, although their survival would depend on the narrow bore hole, a lifeline that engineers are in the process of fortifying.

The 33 miners trapped in an underground mine in Chile spoke to rescuers by radio and have asked for cold beer, peaches and toothbrushes.

Chile's Minister for Mines, Laurence Golborne, said he spoke with Luis Urzua, 54, the shift in charge, who said: "Shift foreman here, we are all healthy and hungry, waiting for you to rescue us."

The miners then broke out into a spontaneous version of the Chilean national anthem when the minister told them: "The whole country is praying for you."

The singing brought tears of joy to relatives on the surface.


Image: A member of the media watches a video of miners who are trapped underground in the copper and gold mine
Photographs: Ivan Alvarado/Reuters
Prev     Next

Trapped for 21 days, rescue 4 months away

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Afterwards, the minister said: "They are safe and well, all healthy except for one who has stomach pain. They say they are very hungry for obvious reasons. "More than one of them asked us to send them a cold brew."

Doctors fear some of them could be driven mad by the news they could remain in the confined space until Christmas.

Health chiefs in Chile have asked NASA for help in keeping the workers alive in cramped conditions with limited supplies.

The miners' blood pressure, temperature and pulses will all be monitored and Doctor Javier Brand, who is involved in the rescue operation, said: ''They will be advised to exercise regularly so they are in good shape for the rescue, which will be though a small orifice.''


Image: A miner's uniform lies on rocks along with letters and pictures to commemorate the 33 miners who are trapped underground
Photographs: Ivan Alvarado/Reuters
Prev     Next

Trapped for 21 days, rescue 4 months away

Prev     More
Prev

More

Chile's Mining Minister Laurence Goldborne said he believed the workers would have got out within 48 hours of the cave-in if the ladder had been installed.

One of the trapped miners, shift foreman Luis Urzua, 54, told rescue workers: ''We attempted to get up through the air shaft, but as it didn't have a ladder, we aborted.''

Reports said the miners are trying to keep their sanity by watching videos of great football matches during the expected three month-long operation to rescue them.

Videos of games featuring legends will be lowered into their chamber along with miniature projectors.

Wilson Avalos, a relative of two trapped miners, said that he was selecting which football videos to send down.

"We will send them videos of Diego Armando Maradona, Ronaldinho and Pele, because they are huge soccer fans. I'm sure that will really help them keep their spirits up," The Telegraph quoted Avalos, as saying.


Image: Candles are seen lit behind a religious statue in front of which relatives pray for the 33 miners
Photographs: Ivan Alvarado/Reuters
Prev     More