Rescue operation in Chilean mine hindered by huge rock

16:55, August 17, 2010      

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Rescuers had to halt rescue operation in the Chilean mine Monday after they came across a huge rock there, delaying their efforts to establish contact with the 33 trapped miners, authorities said.

The huge rock suspended the rescue work and delayed the drilling carried out by seven machines to install sensors to locate and contact the miners, government spokeswoman Ena von Baer said.

The 33 were feared dead after they had been trapped for 11 days in the gold and copper mine located in Copiapo, north of Chile, after collapsed on Aug. 5.

The stranded miners were believed in an emergency shelter at a depth of 700 meters. Officials of the mine have said oxygen and food in the shelter would last 72 hours.

Andrew Sougarret, head of the drilling team, said the rock, believed to be 135 meters long and weighs 700,000 tons, is in a precarious position and poses great threats to rescue operation underground.

Minister of Mining Laurence Golborne said earlier that rescue work will take at least several days. It is crucial to get the first probe into the shelter where the miners were hiding, he said.

"We are doing everything possible to move forward," Baer said.

Source: Xinhua


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