Chile to start evacuating miners soon

Chile to start evacuating miners soon

Midnight operation to rescue 33 trapped men

Chile to start evacuating miners soon

Meanwhile, the engineer leading Chilean rescue efforts says his team has successfully tested a rescue capsule nearly all the way down to where the miners are trapped.
Andres Sougarett says the empty capsule descended 2,000 feet, just 46 feet short of the chamber where 33 miners have been trapped since an August 5 collapse.

He said all would be in place at midnight Tuesday to begin the rescue.

Mining Minister Laurence Golborne told reporters Monday that the capsule performed very well in the hole — that it didn’t even loosen any dust. He did not say why the capsule did not go to the bottom.

“I’m so tired. It’s been far too many days doing nothing, just sitting waiting,” said Alicia Campos, whose son Daniel Herrera is among the trapped miners, as she lined up for a fish sandwich at the tent settlement near the mine entrance dubbed ‘Camp Hope’.
She wants her son to take up another profession.

President Sebastian Pinera, who has ordered a revamp of mine safety regulations in the wake of the accident, has said he plans to visit the mine on Tuesday.

One of the 33 miners is a Bolivian national, and Bolivia’s President Evo Morales has vowed to visit the mine for his rescue.

Rescue officials said they would push ahead boring a separate shaft with a rig usually used to drill for oil as a back-up plan, just in case there are any complications. They have halted a third drill.

In a land still recovering from a devastating February earthquake, celebrations broke out across Chile on Saturday when the drill broke through 65 days after the Aug. 5 collapse at the small gold and copper mine in the far northern Atacama desert.

Prayers, vigils
After weeks of prayers, vigils and agonising waiting, anxiety is giving way to joy as wives, parents and children count down to reunions with their loved ones.

The men, who have set a world record for the length of time workers have survived underground after a mining accident, have been doing exercises to keep their weight down for their ascent. They will journey to the surface in capsules just wider than a man’s shoulders with their eyes closed and will immediately be given dark glasses to avoid damaging their eyesight after spending so long in a dimly-lit tunnel.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox