Rescue chief confirms November as rescue time for Chilean miners

14:17, September 30, 2010      

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Chief of the rescue team said on Wednesday the 33 miners trapped in a copper mine in northern Chile could be brought to the surface in November.

A relative of a miner tests a capsule that will be used as part of rescue operations at the camp for the miners' relatives at the San Jose copper and gold mine where miners have been trapped since an accident on August 5, near Copiapo, some 725 km north of Santiago, September 25, 2010. (Xinhua/AFP Photo)

"We cannot advance the time of the rescue operation and we continue having early November as the date for the rescue," Andres Sougarret said.

Local press has reported the rescue could be finished much earlier than the original plan as a drill in Plan B has reached 300 meters underground, drilling 50 meters per day.

However, Sougarret said the date to rescue the 33 miners, trapped in a shelter 700 meters underground since Aug. 5, would be decided when the drill reached the miners.

Sougarret said the drill carved 50 meters from Monday to Tuesday, but it had to be stopped for maintenance.

"It is a normal process, we have to make changes to the drilling beats, the rock here is very abrasive so we need time to stop and restart the drilling," he said, claiming that keeping a speed of 50 meters per day was "difficult."

Experts believed once the drilling process was done, there were many other things to do before the miners could be lifted out in a special capsule, including reinforcing the tunnel.

Source: Xinhua


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