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  • Chilean Miners

    Pretty amazing story...

    By MAURICIO CUEVAS, Associated Press Writer Mauricio Cuevas, Associated Press Writer – 22 mins ago
    COPIAPO, Chile – Engineers reinforced a lifeline Monday to 33 miners entombed deep inside a Chilean gold and copper mine, preparing to keep them supplied with food, water, medicine and communications during the four months it may take to carve a tunnel wide enough to pull them out.

    A team of doctors and psychiatric experts also arrived Monday at the remote mine, implementing a plan to maintain the miners' sanity as well.

    "We need to urgently establish what psychological situation they are in. They need to understand what we know up here at the surface, that it will take many weeks for them to reach the light," Health Minister Jaime Manalich explained.

    Engineers worked through the night to reinforce the six-inch (15 cm) -wide bore-hole that broke through to the miners' refuge on Sunday, more than 2,257 feet (688 meters) below the surface. Using a long hose, they coated the walls with a metallic gel to decrease the risk of more rock falls in the unstable mine and make it easier to pass material in capsules nicknamed "palomas," or doves.

    The first capsules — which take about an hour to descend from the surface — will include water and food in the form of a high-energy glucose gel to miners who have almost certainly lost significant weight since they were trapped with limited food supplies on Aug. 5.

    Also being sent down are questionnaires to determine each miners' condition, along with medicines and small microphones to enable them to speak with their families during their long wait. Rescue leader Andre Sougarret said the communications equipment could begin working within hours, and that officials were organizing the families into small groups to make their talks as orderly as possible.

    An enormous machine with diamond-tipped drills capable of carving a person-sized tunnel through solid rock at a velocity of 20 meters a day was on its way Monday to the San Jose gold and copper mine outside Copiapo in north-central Chile.

    Engineers also were boring two more narrow shafts to the trapped men to ensure that their lifelines would remain intact while the larger tunnel is being carved.

    It will be important for the men's well-being to keep them busy and well-supported throughout this ordeal, Manalich said.

    "There has to be leadership established, and to support them and prepare them for what's coming, which is no small thing," he said.

    Euphoria that their men survived the collapse and anxiety for what's coming next meant for a sleepless night for the miners' families, who shivered through a cold, foggy night in Chile's Atacama desert.

    "We didn't sleep. We stayed up all night long hoping for more news. They said that new images would appear, so we were up hoping to see them," said one, Carolina Godoy.

    When the drill broke through solid rock to reach the emergency refuge where the miners have gathered. The trapped men tied two notes to the end of a probe that rescuers pulled to the surface, announcing in big red letters: "All 33 of us are fine in the shelter."

    "Today all of Chile is crying with excitement and joy," President Sebastian Pinera said at the mine.

    And where many were beginning to give up hope, the scene above ground became a celebration Sunday night, with a barbecue for the miners' families, roving musicians, lit candles and Chilean flags making the barren landscape seem festive.

    The men already have been trapped underground longer than all but a few miners rescued in recent history. Last year, three miners survived 25 days trapped in a flooded mine in southern China, and two miners in northeastern China were rescued after 23 days in 1983. Few other rescues have taken more than two weeks.

    The miners' survival after 17 days is very unusual, but since they've made it this far, they should emerge physically fine, said Davitt McAteer, who was assistant secretary for mine safety and health at the U.S. Labor Department under President Bill Clinton.

    "The health risks in a copper and gold mine are pretty small if you have air, food and water," McAteer said.

    Still, he said the stress of being trapped underground for a long period of time can be significant.

    "There is a psychological pattern there that we've looked at," McAteer said. But "they've established communication with the guys; there are people who can talk them through that."

    A video camera lowered down the probe shaft Sunday showed some of the miners, stripped to the waist in the underground heat, waving happily. But they weren't able to establish audio contact, Pinera said.

    "I saw eight or nine of them. They were waving their hands. They got close to the camera and we could see their eyes, their joy," the president said.

    The miners seemed to be aware that their rescue may take a long time, according to one of them, Mario Gomez, perhaps the eldest of the trapped men at 63, who wrote a note to his wife.

    "Even if we have to wait months to communicate. ... I want to tell everyone that I'm good and we'll surely come out OK," Gomez wrote, scrawling the words on a sheet of notebook paper the miners tied to the probe. "Patience and faith. God is great and the help of my God is going to make it possible to leave this mine alive."

    Mine officials and relatives of the workers had hoped the men reached a shelter below where the tunnel collapsed Aug. 5 at the San Jose gold and copper mine about 530 miles (850 kilometers) north of the capital, Santiago. But they had said the shelter's emergency air and food supplies would last only 48 hours.

    Gomez wrote that the miners used vehicles for light and a backhoe to dig a channel to retrieve underground water.

    It was unclear whether their air supply was in danger of running out.

    Rescuers had drilled repeatedly in an effort to reach the shelter, but failed seven times. They blamed the errors on the mining company's maps. According to Gomez's note, at least some of those earlier probes were close enough that the trapped miners heard them. The eighth attempt finally worked.

    Gomez's note, which the president read aloud on live television, focused on expressions of faith and love for his family. But frustration also showed through in one line, where he declared that "this company has got to modernize."

    Chile is the world's top copper producer and a leading gold producer, and has some of the world's most advanced mining operations. But both the company that owns the mine, San Esteban, and the National Mining and Geology Service have been criticized for allegedly failing to comply with regulations. In 2007, an explosion at the San Jose mine killed three workers.

    Liliana Ramirez couldn't believe it when Chile's mining minister said her husband had sent a note to his "Dearest Lila."

    "I know my husband is strong, and at 63, is the most experienced miner who could lead his co-workers," she said, but she vowed to keep him above ground once he's rescued.

    Authorities and relatives of the miners hugged, climbed a nearby hill, planted 33 flags and sang Chile's national anthem after discovering the miners had survived.

    Along the length of Chile, horns honked, flags waved and people watched the drama unfold live on television and computer screens. It was a rush of good news in a country still rebuilding from a magnitude-8.8 earthquake Feb. 27 and its resulting tsunami, which together killed at least 521 people and left 200,000 homeless.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

  • #2
    The owner of one of the websites that I moderate lives in Chile, and told me about this 2 weeks ago. He has a relative that is one of the trapped miners.
    I found out Sunday that they had contacted the miners, and all were OK. From what he said, it may not be until around Christmas before they are rescued.

    It looks like it is going to be a very long stretch for them. Hopefully all will come out of it soon and in good health.

    FM1
    I'm the one Fire and Rescue calls, when they need to be Rescued.

    Originally posted by EastKyFF
    "Firemens gets antsies. Theys wants to goes to fires. Sometimeses they haves to waits."

    Comment


    • #3
      They're talking 3 to 5 months to get them out. Reports on the news say they have managed to sink 3 holes into the chamber. One for air, one for food and one for comms. Apparently the bigger problem is sanity, they are trapped in a room about 500 sq feet, and in the dark. THAT would SUCK big!

      Best of luck to those guys and to the rescue crews.
      If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

      "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

      "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

      Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

      impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

      IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by MalahatTwo7 View Post
        They're talking 3 to 5 months to get them out. Reports on the news say they have managed to sink 3 holes into the chamber. One for air, one for food and one for comms. Apparently the bigger problem is sanity, they are trapped in a room about 500 sq feet, and in the dark. THAT would SUCK big!

        Best of luck to those guys and to the rescue crews.
        This is an amazing story.... there are so many details that I want to know about.

        Here's a major one... how are they handling, uh.. bathroom issues?

        Can you imagine the smells? God bless em.
        I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

        "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

        "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

        Comment


        • #5
          "G" sent me this last night after posting, from (???) yahoo.

          http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100823/..._mine_collapse


          FM1
          Last edited by FIREMECH1; 08-25-2010, 11:06 AM.
          I'm the one Fire and Rescue calls, when they need to be Rescued.

          Originally posted by EastKyFF
          "Firemens gets antsies. Theys wants to goes to fires. Sometimeses they haves to waits."

          Comment


          • #6
            The bad thing is that they may never get out alive!!
            Stay Safe and Well Out There....

            Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

            Comment


            • #7
              I just can't imagine. God be with those men.
              Jason Knecht
              Firefighter/EMT
              Township Fire Dept., Inc.
              Eau Claire, WI

              IACOJ - Director of Cheese and Whine
              http://www.cheddarvision.tv/
              EAT CHEESE OR DIE!!

              Comment


              • #8
                I heard that they actually have access to other portions of the mine, and have set up a restroom of sorts a little deeper than their current location. I can't imagine that they have to go too horribly bad, since they were rationing food to nearly nothing for the time they were down there.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I am sure that once regular food drops,for lack of a better word,are established,the men will have a latrine area set up.It is my understanding(maybe supposition on my part) that toilet adjuncts are part of emergency supplies in mines.But I could be wrong,even if it is a good idea to have.
                  Because I saw them putting bottled water into a pipe for transport to them,I had to think of the joke where a guy in the hospital was so contagious that he was on a flapjacks and flounder diet because that was all that would fit under the door.
                  I had also been thinking that they are going to drawing some KILLER overtime wages but this morning before I shut the tv off CBS was talking about how they may not be getting paid until they come out.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by MalahatTwo7 View Post
                    They're talking 3 to 5 months to get them out. Reports on the news say they have managed to sink 3 holes into the chamber. One for air, one for food and one for comms. Apparently the bigger problem is sanity, they are trapped in a room about 500 sq feet, and in the dark. THAT would SUCK big!

                    Best of luck to those guys and to the rescue crews.
                    Depending on the sense of humor of the guys down there,I am sure they could entertain themselves for the duration.I doubt they'd ever agree to air any of it but it couldn't be worse than what American television is inflicting upon the world.
                    It could well be that someone could take the time to take correspondence courses,send the work through the pipe and end up moving up to management or a different field altogether.
                    All kinds of possibilities to kill time down there.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      It sounds like they have established lifelines to the surface for air, water, and comms. My question would be, does this include power? The linked article above mentioned that they are using vehicles for lights which won't last long and has CO issues. If they can establish surface power it will go a long way toward making that area more livable. Not to mention if they have that, then maybe they can get Internet... should help pass the time.

                      Saw on the news that NASA was sending experts..
                      So you call this your free country
                      Tell me why it costs so much to live
                      -3dd

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by voyager9 View Post
                        It sounds like they have established lifelines to the surface for air, water, and comms. My question would be, does this include power? The linked article above mentioned that they are using vehicles for lights which won't last long and has CO issues. If they can establish surface power it will go a long way toward making that area more livable. Not to mention if they have that, then maybe they can get Internet... should help pass the time.
                        Well, I would hope they can run a small tv and cable down there also. After all, football season starts soon.
                        I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

                        "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

                        "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ChiefKN View Post
                          Well, I would hope they can run a small tv and cable down there also. After all, football season starts soon.
                          Naaaaaaaaaaaaa .. In Chili football season ended with the World Cup.
                          Train to fight the fires you fight.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ChiefKN View Post
                            Well, I would hope they can run a small tv and cable down there also. After all, football season starts soon.
                            Nah.. they're probably all San Francisco fans..
                            So you call this your free country
                            Tell me why it costs so much to live
                            -3dd

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by voyager9 View Post
                              Nah.. they're probably all San Francisco fans..
                              Ba-zing!

                              Nice one!
                              I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

                              "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

                              "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

                              Comment

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