I know these guys are glad to be alive… And it is a rare bit of good news in this type of disaster.
But can you imagine having to spend 4 months in hollow, 1/2 mile under the earth?
Which raises the question – Chile also has frequent earthquakes…
A group of Chilean miners trapped for 17 days deep inside a collapsed mine are alive, the Chilean president, Sebastián Piñera, said tonight – but it will take at least four months to set them free.
A rescue probe that drilled down 2,257 feet (688 metres) to the bottom of the San Jose mine made contact with the miners, who sent back a message reading: “All 33 of us are well inside the shelter.”
“Never have so few words brought such happiness to an entire nation,” said Piñera as he read out the handwritten note.
A second note from the miners indicated they were living in a makeshift refuge. Using a bulldozer, they have created a canal of fresh water and have used electricity from a truck engine to rig up lighting deep inside the notoriously dangerous copper mine.
Aides to Piñera warned that it would take a minimum of four months to free the men. “A shaft 66cm in diameter will take at least 120 days,” said Andre Sougarret, lead engineer on the rescue operation. Rescue equipment from around the world is being rushed in to build an escape tunnel nearly 700 metres underground.
The miners were trapped on 5 August by a massive collapse in the roof of the mine, located outside the northern Chilean city of Copiapó. For two weeks, a series of probes has tunnelled hundreds of metres trying to find the refuge where the miners were thought to be gathered. They repeatedly missed their mark, and officials began blaming the mine for not operating with updated maps or modern safety equipment.
Using the hole created by the probes, rescue workers now plan to send down food, medicine and water as doctors struggle to keep the men alive and healthy while mining experts debate the options for building an escape route.