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Chile Miners

Santiago : Chile | Oct 09, 2010 at 5:31 AM PDT
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Flight of the Phoenix

A drill broke through to the cavern holding 33 trapped Chilean miners for 64 days about 8 a.m. local time Saturday morning. It created a shaft just wide enough for them to come up 2,000 feet in the Phoenix escape capsule, the Los Angeles Times reported. The capsule, built at a Chilean military shipyward, is named for the mythical bird that lives thousands of years and when consumed by fire rises from the ashes.

When a siren sounded indicating the miners' safe haven had been reached, joy spread across the South American nation. CNN reported Family members ran downhill from the tents and RVs of "Camp Hope," carrying Chilean flags. One man who is a relative of a miner, "I feel happiness. I feel tranquil -- the fear is now gone." The mine is at Copiapó in the Atacama Desert, about 500 miles north of Santiago and 40 miles east pf the Pacific coast.

It had been expected it could take four months or more to reach them beneath the copper-gold mines. Even now engineers will dropped a video camera down the length of the shaft to decide whether they need to encase the shaft in metal before using it. That could take three to eight days.

The 500-pound escape capsule, painted the red, white and blue that are Chile’s national colors, can hold one person at a time. It is 24-inches wide and is equipped with oxygen and communication equipment and has wheels installed on the outside. It can hold a person up to 6-feet-four for the 2,300-foot journey.

President Sebastian Pinera called it a blessing.

“We have done everything that technology permits,” said Miguel Fortt, a consultant on underground mining rescues in the Atacama region. “If the Lord doesn’t send us an earthquake, we’ll be O.K," he told the New York Times.

The planning had included the possibility that the miners would have to set off a dynamite charge to get the shaft open to them. And there remains the possibility that as they exit the shaft could become blocked.

The Phoenix story inspired two movies.

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An escape capsule named after the mythical bird that rose from ashes will try to bring 33 miners up from more than 2,000 feet down in a Chilean copper-gold mine.
RobertWeller991 is based in Denver, Colorado, United States of America, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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News Stories

 
  • With Drilling Near End, Chile Rescue Enters Risky Phase

      The New York Times
    Photo/Victor Ruiz Caballero Mounted polices patrol the surrounding area of the San Jose mine. A powerful drill, twisting and pounding its way through the abrasive volcanic rock, was only about 130 feet from breaking through to the miners on Friday...
  • Chile Miners Send 'Souvenirs' From Hellish Depths

      International Herald Tribune
    They have spent two months dreaming of escaping "hell" after a cave-in buried them alive deep underground, but some of Chile's 33 trapped miners are sending keepsakes of their ordeal up to the surface. Sensing freedom may come within days, miner...
  • Rescue near for Chile miners trapped for two months

      Mail and Guardian
    Chile's Atacama desert, waving banners and lighting candles for each of the men. "We are calm...Now we are in the closing stage," said Samuel Avalos (70) whose son is among the trapped. "We hope it's over." Mining Minister Laurence Golborne,...
  • Escape route in place for trapped miners in Chile

      Big News Network
    A drill broke through to their cavern more than 2,000 feet underground, creating a shaft just wide enough for a specially designed escape capsule to pass through. The sound of the siren that signalled the breakthrough thrilled the miners' families...
  • Rescue near for trapped Chile miners 2 months on

      Reuters
    A frame grab shows trapped miners as a drill bit of the T-130 drilling machine digs a 12-inch guide hole at a garage next to the refuge where 33 miners are trapped deep underground inside a copper and gold mine near Copiapo September 17, 2010.
  • Rescue shaft nearly reaches trapped Chilean miners

      Yedioth Ahronoth
    But once they have finished the last few metres (yards), it will take days to winch them to the surface one at a time in special capsules just wider than a man's shoulders. (Reuters)  

Images

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  • A rescue drill has reached 33 miners stuck 64 days down in a Chilean mine.

    Tears of Joy at Chilean Mine

  • The mine at Copiapo where 33 Chilean mines have been trapped for 64 days.

    Chile Mine

  • When a mine collapsed 64 days ago in China 33 miners made it to a safe rescue vault.

    Trapped Miners

Videos

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