Rescuing Miners Trapped in Chile Could “Take Months”

August 23, 2010

Chile (ChattahBox) – The rescue leader for the miners trapped in a Chilean mine has said that it could take at least four months to get them out, the BBC reports.

The 33 miners have been trapped in the San Jose gold and copper mine since August 5, when the main access tunnel into the mine collapsed. All 33 survived, a miracle in itself, and after 17 days rescuers were able to drill a small hole and lower down a note asking if they were alive. A returned note said that they were all alive, but in dire need of help.

Food, hydration gels and other supplies have been sent down the holes, including camera so that messages can be sent to family members waiting for the safe return of their loved ones. But the holes are too small to use to bring the men out.

“A shaft 66cm (26 inches) in diameter will take at least 120 days,” Andres Sougarret, chief engineer in charge of the rescue mission, said.

Nevertheless, the fact that supplies can be regularly sent is better than anyone expected, after hope had been fading for weeks for the survival of the miners.

Chile’s population has called for an overhaul of mining regulations in the country, and the company owning the mine has been widely criticized, with people accusing them of failing to modernize and properly protect their employees.


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