The Rescue of The Chilean Miners

By: Harvey McEwan | Posted: 27th October 2010

At 0010 (0310 GMT) the last remaining Chilean miner trapped 624m underground was elevated to the haven of the surface. With the rescue mission commencing at 2315 on Tuesday (0215 GMT), it took a little over 24 hours to hoist every one of the 33 miners to safety in an operation which will be hailed for years to come, and which will be imprinted on the minds of all who followed the rescue live on television.

From the subdued reunions with family members to the more emphatic celebrations, the event produced many memorable moments, none more so than the sight of Mario Sepulveda distributing rock souvenirs to President Pinera before stirring the crowd into a patriotic frenzy with chants of “CHI...CHI...LE...LE”.

In addition to the subsequent fame of the 33 miners and the rescue workers, the Phoenix capsule has also been subject to a new found state of glory, and is due to go on tour following its part in the successful collection of the miners. Interior Minister Rodrigo Hintzpeter has revealed that the Chilean government had been asked to allow the capsule to be released to travel the world as part of an exhibition.

The silent hero of the operation has definitely been the engineering machinations which made the rescue possible. All in all, three drills were set up, a Strata 950 raise-bore machine, a Schramm T-130 machine, and a Rig 442. The first of the three drilling operations began on the 30th August, with an initial pilot hole being created before a widening of the shafts.

The Schramm T-130 was the first to break through to the miners, with the first 54 metres of the shaft lined with steel tubing to ensure the integrity of the hole. The miners themselves worked in shifts for the duration of their entrapment removing rubble from the bottom of the shaft.

By using the latest technology in drilling and completion tools, the engineers responsible for the recovery of the 33 miners were able to save each and every one of the trapped men, and all in a day's work.
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Tags: frenzy, latest technology, steel tubing, rubble, memorable moments, miners, strata, entrapment, chants