Chilean trapped miners: Wednesday rescue likely in Chile

Chile – Drillers neared the lower reaches of a gold and copper mine where 33 men have been trapped for more than two months, preparing Friday for a breakthrough that would unleash a national outpouring of joy.

Engineers had just the last 128 feet (39 meters) of rock to carve through, and were working carefully to keep the T130 drill from jamming or punching through with too much force, Mining Minister Laurence Golborne said.
We are very close, Golborne said. 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.


SAN JOSE MINE, Chile – Chile's trapped miners cheered and embraced Saturday when a drill punched an escape shaft into an underground chamber in a spray of rock and dust on the 66th day of their agonizing entombment, opening the way for rescuers to set plans to begin lifting the men out by midweek.

The government's mining minister said late Saturday that the extraction of the 33 men will probably begin Wednesday, after an inspection revealed that the new hole is mostly strong enough to enable them to escape safely. He said only a stretch at the top will be reinforced with steel pipe.

Chilean trapped miners: Wednesday rescue likely in Chile

Elizabeth Segovia, right, holds her daughter Esperanza Ticona, the first baby of trapped miner Ariel Ticona, at the camp where relatives wait for the rescue of trapped miners outside the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. (AP)

The completion of the rescue shaft caused bedlam in the tent city known as "Camp Hope," where the miners' relatives have held vigil since a cave-in sealed off the gold and copper mine Aug. 5.

Miners videotaping the drill breaking through a chamber's ceiling 2,041 feet (622 meters) underground could be seen cheering joyfully and hugging each other, the drillers said. At the surface, the rescuers chanted, danced and sprayed champagne so excitedly that some of their hard hats tumbled off. Yahoo News

Chilean trapped miners: Wednesday rescue likely in Chile

Mounted police patrol around the San Jose mine, near the city of Copiapo, in the arid Atacama desert, 800 kilometres north of Santiago. (AFP)

Chilean trapped miners: Wednesday rescue likely in Chile

Picture of the press camp, set up at the San Jose mine, near the city of Copiapo, in the arid Atacama desert, 800 kilometres north of Santiago. (AFP)

Chilean trapped miners: Wednesday rescue likely in Chile

A man in a clown suit holding a Chilean flag celebrates with a TV reporter after one of the drills working to rescue the 33 trapped miners finally reached their shelter in the San Jose mine, near Copiapo, Chile. (AFP)

Chilean trapped miners: Wednesday rescue likely in Chile

Chilean First Lady Cecilia Morel (C) visits the San Jose mine after one of the drills working to rescue the 33 trapped miners finally reached their shelter at La Esperanza camp, near Copiapo, Chile. (AFP)

Chilean trapped miners: Wednesday rescue likely in Chile

A man stands at the camp where journalists wait for the rescue of trapped miners outside the San Jose mine, near Copiapo, Chile. (AP)

Chilean trapped miners: Wednesday rescue likely in Chile

A drilling rig punched through to the underground site where 33 miners have been trapped for 66 days under the Chilean desert, raising cheers, tears and hopes. (AP)

Chilean trapped miners: Wednesday rescue likely in Chile

Antonia Godoy, mother of trapped miner Richard Villarroel, shows Chilean flag underwear she received as a gift for his son when he is rescued, at a camp near the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. (AP)

Chilean trapped miners: Wednesday rescue likely in Chile

Journalists work in the surroundings of the San Jose mine, in the arid Atacama desert, 800 km (480 miles) north of Santiago. (AFP)

Chilean trapped miners: Wednesday rescue likely in Chile

Rolly the Clown gives his thumbs up next to tents of Esperanza camp, at the San Jose mine near the city of Copiapo, 800 km north of Santiago. (AFP)

Chilean trapped miners: Wednesday rescue likely in Chile

Kids light candles at Esperanza camp at the San Jose mine near the city of Copiapo, 800 km north of Santiago on October 9, 2010. The rescue of the 33 miners trapped in a Chilean mine. (AFP)



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