Day 24 for Trapped Chilean Miners: ‘Plan B,’ Dominoes and St. Lorenzo

August 29, 2010

(ChattahBox)—The thirty-three Chilean miners trapped half a mile underground in a collapsed gold and silver mine, have been confined to a small chamber and connecting tunnels, since August 5. Officials estimate an escape tunnel won’t be completed until Christmas, but a “Plan B,” using a powerful drill to widen the existing bore hole, that could cut the rescue time in half, gave the miners’ families a ray of hope over the weekend. Although Chilean officials are cautioning the families and the nation against holding unreasonable expectations for the rescue effort, the “Plan B” is encouraging news. Perhaps the new rescue plan can be attributed to divine intervention. The rescue has been dubbed the “Saint Lorenzo Operation.” Saint Lorenzo Ruiz, the patron saint of miners, was the first Filipino martyred for his belief in God. He died from being crushed, after undergoing three days of agonizing torture. The 33 miners are not expected to suffer the same fate, thankfully.

While waiting for either Plan A or “Plan B” to come to fruition, the trapped miners have been receiving food, medicine, clean clothing and letters from home. And they are busy playing dominoes to while away the time, as shown in a video made by the miners that was aired on national TV. For a bathroom, the 33 men are using a shaft that runs about 130 feet below the main cabin.

The video showed the men in decent spirits, under the circumstances.

“Some of the men were standing, others were lying down. “Oh, you’re sleeping on a box-spring bed,” joked one man to another, who is sprawled out on a pile of rocks.

“On a crate sat a set of dominoes; on a wall were two first-aid boxes. Nearby were two stretchers.”

NASA officials are on their way to help the miners cope with the isolation of being trapped in a small space for long periods of time.

And about that “Plan B,” the powerful drill, called the Scram T-130 drill will be on the site of the collapsed mine within a few days, to first start, widening the existing bore hole for easier supply drops.

“Walter Herrera, quality control and risk manager for Chilean mining company GeoTech, said his company was bringing a specialized device — a Scram T-130 drill, typically used for boring water holes — to the San Jose mine.” […]

“Herrera added that the plan hinges on using one of the three bore holes, measuring 4 inches each in diameter, which has already been drilled and is being used to pass the miners supplies. The drill would use that bore hole as a pilot and simply widen the diameter to about 28 inches, which officials have said is wide enough for the miners to pass through.”

The standard rescue shaft that would take about four-months to complete, could operate at the same time, as the “Plan B” widening effort.

Meanwhile, it can’t hurt to continue praying to Saint Lorenzo.

You can watch the miners’ self-made video here.


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