Tunnels for saving Chilean miners to be completed soon: rescuers

14:01, October 05, 2010      

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The excavation of tunnels for rescuing the 33 miners trapped 700 meters underground in northern Chile will be completed in a couple of days, rescuers said Monday.

Rescuers at the San Jose Mine told relatives of the trapped miners that the excavation work could be done by Tuesday and the final phase of the rescue operation will start soon.

Darwin Consteras, brother of the still trapped Pedro Consteras, told Xinhua the rescuers informed him that at least one tunnel will reach the trapped miners Tuesday.

The rescuers have been working on three tunnels -- all 700 meters long and 28 inches wide.

On Monday, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera said he hoped to make his October tour to Europe after the miners were rescued.

On the same day, the chief engineer in charge of the rescue mission, Andres Sougarret, reiterated that despite the good will of saving the miners sooner, it is very important to avoid risks.

According to the rescue plan, the tunnels, once completed, will need to have "casing" done, in order to ease the movement of the capsules (container in which the miners will be transported from the bottom of the well to the earth where they will be welcomed by a massive fiesta and hugs from their long-lost friends.

A mine rescuer and a paramedic will be sent down with the capsule, to check and make sure that the miners are all in good shape, and in favorable conditions to be transported in the capsule.

By Tuesday, the 33 miners, 32 Chilean and one Bolivian, will have survived two entire months underground since the collapse of the notorious San Jose copper-gold mine, owned by the San Esteban mining company.

Source: Xinhua


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