Operations to rescue trapped Chile miners begins

Some of the trapped 33 miners

Families of the men maintained an overnight vigil by camp-fires at Camp Hope, the tent settlement they set up at the minehead in the desert near the northern Chilean town of Copiapo.

The rescue teams were due to sound a klaxon to mark a breakthrough that would unleash an outpouring of joy across the country.

The operation to then bring the men to the surface should be launched in the next few days, after rescuers send a video camera down through the shaft to assess whether it needs to be cased with steel to prevent rockfalls.

The miners will have to play a key and risky role in their own escape after the drill finally breaks through into the tunnels where they are trapped.

For the angle that the shaft will strike the tunnel means they will have to use dynamite to clear a rock so that the specially-designed rescue cage can reach them.

Rescue engineers slowed down the final stage of drilling in an effort to ensure that the hammer did not jam or punch through the rock with such force that it became stuck.

“We are very close,” said Laurence Golborne, the mining minister. “It would be very complicated if after all the work we have done, you lose the hole. We have to be very careful and do it in a controlled way.”

Indeed, the rescue mission is reaching its most sensitive stage. At the surface, excitement mixed with anxiety for the families who have maintained their vigil since the Aug 5 rockfall.

If the shaft’s rock walls are found to be strong, officials said the miners could be pulled out beginning Tuesday. If not, rescuers will line the shaft at least partially with steel pipe, delaying the rescue for three to eight more days.

Both alternatives – going without a liner or putting in steel pipe – risk a disastrous setback. The actual rescue is expected to take more than 35 hours as the miners are pulled out one by one.

The rescue team has drawn up a provisional list of the order of the miners’ rescue, based on daily examinations of the men’s physical and mental health. First up will be the four judged capable of handling a frightening setback as the cage is pulled through the narrow black shaft and describing the issuers to the others.

The next phase would be the rescue of those with illnesses, the weaker and older. And coming up last will be another group who are physically and mentally strong enough to wait their moment.

The names have not been revealed and the final order will be decided by the three navy paramedics and 13 rescue experts who will be lowered down into the mine to run the operation from below ground.

But there is already speculation about who might emerge when. Among the fittest and a candidate to come up first is Edison Pena, an Elvis fan and athlete who has been running six miles a day.

Among the middle batch will be those with illnesses such as Jose Ojeda, who has diabetes, and Jorge Galleguillos with hypertension, and almost certainly Mario Gomez, the oldest at 63.

The final ones to emerge are likely to include Yonni Barrios, whose has acted as the mens’ medic, and Jose Henriquez, who has been leading twice-daily prayer sessions. And many believe that the last man up will Luis Urzua, the shift supervisor and leader of Los 33 who is credited with keeping the men alive by eking out food rations during the first lost 17 days.

“It could be Urzua, but it’s still not confirmed. The concept of a captain being the last one to abandon ship could be applied,” said Commander Renato Navarro, the navy official running the rescue.
Source: The Telegraph

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.