Chilean Miners Found Alive after 3 Weeks Underground

Despite spending 17 days trapped in a collapsed mine, the Chilean miners who made contact with rescue teams on August 23rd were in high spirits. The mine collapsed on August 5th, trapping many workers inside. Few people held onto the hope that the workers survived the collapse, but 33 have survived and are now receiving aid.

A bore hole first reached the space the miners are trapped in last Sunday, and the worker’s main request was for toothbrushes and tooth paste. All 33 men are occupying a 500 ft space, and survived for those 17 days on tiny amounts of tuna, milk, and dried biscuits. A communication shaft was completed Monday, which allowed the trapped miners to communicate with the media and their families.

Food, water, and oxygen are being delivered to the men who may not be able to leave their subterranean home for three to four months. The large equipment needed to safely drill an escape hole will soon arrive at the mine, but drilling through 700 meters of solid rock takes a long time. Health experts in Chile have contacted NASA for ideas on keeping the 33 men healthy, both mentally and physically, during their long confinement underground.

An explosion in 2007 occurred in the same mine, killing two workers. Chile has relatively lax safety standards, due to a drive for expansion. The families of the miners are already moving to sue the mine for endangering their workers, and safety investigators are questioning the lack of alternate escape routes in the mine. Chile’s President Sebastian Pinera issued a statement on Monday declaring the country’s dedication to determining who was at fault for the mine collapse, and to improve the safety of workers across the country.

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