Chilean Miners Expected To Be Rescued On Wednesday; Arguing Over Who Will Go Last
October 11, 2010 By Staff
Today in Latin America
Top Story — Engineers in Chile are reinforcing an escape shaft with the hope of freeing the 33 trapped miners by Wednesday, as the miners argue over who will be the last one out.
The miners have been trapped underground for more then two months after a rock collapsed above them at San José gold and copper mine.
“I questioned them and mentioned we were working on an order in which they would be brought out. I said the order would be determined by technical factors,” said Chilean Health Minister Jaime Manalich, according to AFP.
“And what was their reaction? ‘Mr. Minister, that’s fine but I want to go last please.’ And then another guy said, ‘No, my friend, I said that I was going to be the last one up.’ ‘No, no, really — I want to go last, please,’ another guy started saying.”
Chilean engineers are using sixteen steel tubes that are being inserted into the top of an almost 700-yard-deep shaft, that they say will hopefully prevent the walls from falling in and blocking the escape route. Officials and geologists are also using video-cameras that analyze the entire length of the shaft to see if there are any sections where the tubes might get caught in the curvy lower sections of the shaft.
“We are going to double-check everything that is necessary until we are convinced that the system functions,” said Laurence Golborne, Chile’s mining minister, according to the Washington Post.
Medical precautions have also been taken to ensure the miners physical and mental health during their time underground. Aspirin to prevent blood clots, a special drink to settle the stomach and video monitors to watch for panic attacks have all been utilized by doctors during rescue operations.
The chief medical officer of the rescue operation, Dr. Jean Romagnoli, said that once rescued, the miners could suffer a number of maladies including partially collapsed lungs from shallow breathing, eye damage from the darkness, fungal diseases and Vitamin D deficiency.
Health Minister Manalich also worries that the miners could suffer from dizziness or fainting spells during the rapid ascent from the shaft and even panic attacks.
The rescue team plans to start constructing the winch that will lower and raise the 26-inch-diameter rescue capsule today.
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Image: Benja 🙂 @ Flickr.