Tag Archives: miners

Life in the Chilean mine

A very detailed update on the trapped Chilean miners, now expected to be rescured in early November. Two key quotes:

The miners are sleeping on cots that were sent down in pieces and reassembled, and each can look forward every weekend to eight minutes each of video chat time with his family using compact cameras and a phone that was disassembled to fit through the hole.

And:

Their routine starts with breakfast – hot coffee or tea with milk and a ham-and-cheese sandwich. Then lots of labor: Removing the loose rock that drops through the bore holes as they are being widened into escape tunnels; cleaning up their trash and emptying the toilet; and attending to the capsules known as “palomas” – Spanish for carrier pigeons – that are lowered to them with supplies.

The miners must quickly remove the contents – food, clean clothes, medicine, family letters and other supplies – and send back up material such as dirty clothes, rolled up like sausages to fit. Each trip down takes 12 to 15 minutes, then four minutes for unloading and five minutes to pull them back up. At least three miners are constantly stationed at the bore hole for this work.

Living underground for months

Though this article outlines succinctly the physical and mental difficulties faced by the 33 trapped Chilean miners, it also tends to overemphasize the worst case scenerios, none of which are likely to happen. I can state from personal experience — having spent numerous weekends underground during cave exploration trips — that though their situation is very unpleasant, I have no doubt these miners will survive. Because they have contact with the surface, and therefore a regular supply of food and information, they will simply demonstrate the limitless range of human endurance, and hold on until rescue arrives.