September 14th, 2010
02:39 PM ET

Government: Drilling could resume to rescue miners

Officials working to free 33 trapped miners in a collapsed Chilean mine said Tuesday they had cleared a drilling hole that was blocked by a shattered drill bit.

Engineer Rene Aguilar said all the pieces of the broken drill bit that were in the hole drilled by the Plan B operation had been removed, and drilling could begin again soon.

The Plan B drill is widening a narrow hole drilled when rescuers first searched for the miners after the mine collapsed August 5. That drill was making the fastest progress of the other rescue operations - Plan A and Plan C - when it hit an obstruction, possibly a reinforcement beam, at a depth of 268 meters (879 feet).

"This bit was upside down and we used a spider ... to pull it out," Aguilar said, holding up the "nose" of the bit that he said weighed about 12 kilograms (about 26 pounds).

"Spiders" are specially designed claws that were made to pull out the broken drill pieces.

A second customized bit was expected to arrive later Tuesday, and Aguilar said a camera was being lowered into the hole to check it out before drilling restarts.

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Filed under: Chile • Mine accidents
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. equal

    May god bless these miners and their love ones.i pray for their quick and safe rescue.i hope the government fixes the safety problems to prevent another incident.a usa person

    September 15, 2010 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Maud

    Is it possible that the miners internment for up to four months in such stressful conditions could raise awareness of our barbaric practice of solitary confinement?

    Some of our prisoners are in solitary for life, which in most cases means mental disintegration. Many of them live without daylight, without normal consciousness of light and day. And they don't have companionship or the right to touch anyone. No crime can justify this kind of punishment.

    How can we be so barbaric in this vaunted "nation of laws" which forbids cruel and unusual punishment?

    September 16, 2010 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • andrieux

      that is an awfully weak connection. I think we should just go with your line of reasoning and sentence them to successive hugs and cuddles.

      October 5, 2010 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Vijayakumar

    I am similar msageses from my comment form. That I wait a week. Basically purchase the same exact message, I delete both. In any other case, I would look at what they've to provide.

    August 9, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse | Reply

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