Chile Mine Disaster: Timeline
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Chile Mine Disaster: Timeline

San José : Chile | Oct 09, 2010 at 10:26 AM PDT
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Shaft set to reach Chilean miners

After 65 days, a rescue shaft broke in a collapsed Chilean copper and gold mine that could rescue the 33 miners buried 805 meters (2,640 feet).

The rescue team is only hours away from reaching the 33. One report said it will be on Tuesday.

Here is the chronology of events of the disaster and rescue operation to date:

5 Aug: A mine shaft caves-in at a depth of 300 meters (984 feet) in the San Jose mine.

6 Aug: Chile President Sebastian Pinera vowed to do "everything humanly possible" to rescue the 33 missing miners.

7 Aug: New cave-ins complicated direct rescue attempts through a ventialtion duct.

12 Aug: Mining Minister Laurence Goldborne says the chances of finding the miners are slim.

22 Aug: A drill probe reaches the miners, they attached a note to it saying: "All 33 of us are well inside the shelter." The first video footage shows the miners waving their arms and apparently in good condition.

23 Aug: The trapped miners beg to be rescued soon. They received their first supplies via a pipeline.

The San Esteban company which owns the mine doubts it can pay the trapped workers' salaries. The company is facing bankruptcy.

25 Aug: Chile officials tell the miners it could be months before they are rescued. They exchange their first letters with families.

26 Aug: A Chilean judge orders $1.8 million to be frozen from the accounts of the mine in order to pay future compensation claims.

29 Aug: The miners received a message of support from Pope Benedict XVI. Miners spoke for the first time with their loved ones by radio-telephone.

30 Aug: Rescuers start drilling a first 30 centimeter (12-inch) pilot hole, aiming for the shelter.

4 Sept: The miners hold a first video conference with their families.

18 Sept: A second drill reaches the level of the miners.

19 Sept: A third, more powerful drill starts work on another shaft at the diameter required to pull the miners out.

30 Sept: Families of 29 of the 33 workers file suit against their employer, seeking $12 million in damages.

1 Oct: Officials say the rescue operation will start in the second half of October.

4 Oct: Chile president says he hopes to bring the trapped miners to the surface by the middle of October.

8 Oct: The mines minister says the main rescue shaft should reach the miners within 24 hours.

9 Oct: The rescue shaft breaks through where the miners are trapped.

Gino C. Matibag is based in Manila, National Capital Region, Philippines, and is a Stringer on Allvoices.
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