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Entries in Trapped (3)

Sunday
Nov212010

Trapped New Zealand Miners: Rescuers Still Unable to Enter Mine

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(GREYMOUTH, New Zealand) -- It's still too dangerous for rescuers to try to reach 29 missing miners in New Zealand.

The New Zealand Herald reports that gas levels inside the mine are trending down, but continue to fluctuate. Testing will indicate whether it's safe for rescue teams to enter the mine. Experts fear high levels of gas could trigger another explosion.

The miners -- who have yet to be heard from -- have been trapped since Friday.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio´╗┐

Saturday
Oct092010

Breakthrough: Drill Reaches Site of 33 Trapped Chilean Miners

Photo Courtesy - HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images(COPIAPO, Chile) -- A rescue drill has reached the underground site where 33 Chilean miners have been trapped since August 5.

Rescuers could begin pulling the men to the surface as early as Tuesday.

Engineers will now use a camera to check the 26"-wide shaft for loose rocks that could tumble on the miners.  They expect to line at least some of the 2,000-foot shaft with ½" steel casing.

"The casing process is not without risks," said Chile's Minister of Mines, Laurence Golborne.  "I mean, you have a 700 meter hole with pipes that weigh 150 tons... If you don't do it in a proper way, you can lose one of the parts or casings, and that could be a tremendous disaster, too."

Golborne said the installation of the steel piping will be checked using X-rays.

Once the rescue begins, a paramedic and rescue coordinator will then be lowered into the hole, and the men will be pulled out one-by-one, according to an exit list.  When the men reach the surface, they will have to wear sunglasses to protect their eyesight from the glare of daylight.

The miners will ride to the surface in a narrow, 21-inch wide capsule, barely larger than an 18-inch NBA basketball hoop.  Several have been put on special diets to make sure they can squeeze into the capsule.

First up will be several skilled men who will ride to the surface to make sure the system works.  There is an escape hatch at the bottom of the capsule if it gets stuck.  Once officials are confident the system is working, the most vulnerable men will ascend.  Healthier men will be pulled out last.  

When the disaster began, mining officials thought a rescue wouldn't be possible until December, but drilling has proceeded faster than expected, giving hope to the families waiting eagerly for their loved ones' return.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct052010

Rescue Nears For Miners Trapped Underground In Chile

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(COPIAPO, Chile) -- The 33 Chilean miners who have been trapped 2,300 feet underground in the Atacama desert since Aug. 5 may be rescued in a complex mission involving more than 100 workers by mid-October or sooner, according to government officials. 

"I hope we can rescue them before mid-October," said Chile President Sebastian Pinera.

The next milestone will be the “breakthrough” -- when one of the three huge drills reaches the depth at which the miners have been trapped.  ABC News has learned that this could come as soon as Thursday.  However, it is more likely to happen by the weekend.

Next, the shaft -- or parts of it -- will be lined with steel tubes to protect the men.  Then the shaft will be scanned with cameras to evaluate its stability.  Consequently, it could still be at least a couple of days after “breakthrough” before the specially-designed, 500 pound rescue capsule, known as the Pheonix, is lowered, and the actual rescues begun.

In the meantime, the miners have been exercising with Chilean Military Adviser Jean Christophe Romagnoli by remote control to avoid circulation troubles, improve lung capacity and avoid thorax damage.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio
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ABC News Radio