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  1. #1

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    Trapped miners in Chile

    There's no thread on this--is no one else following the story? I've been glued to the internet waiting for updates. One of the most riveting stories in recent years. Hope it will end okay.

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    I check on it semi daily. They say it will take months to get them out. I hope its not a Utah situation of what happened a few years ago.

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    Latest I heard was that they weren't going to be paid for their time while trapped.

    It is a riveting story, though, isn't it? I bet a movie is already in the works ...

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    It seems crazy that with the technologies we have today in countries like the U.S., China, and Russia, etc. that it's going to take a month or more to rescue these trapped minors. Have other countries offer their assistance to Chile?

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    Quote Originally Posted by orbitz View Post
    It seems crazy that with the technologies we have today in countries like the U.S., China, and Russia, etc. that it's going to take a month or more to rescue these trapped minors. Have other countries offer their assistance to Chile?
    Yes, the best equipment and expertise has been sent from all over the world, and Chile is a large mining country that has world-class equipment.

    I haven't heard anyone say it can be done in one month. Two months is the best-case scenario reported, but they are saying over and over again that it will probably be 3-4 months Some reasons:

    • They are so far underground. In addition, the rock is really hard and tough to drill through. It's also brittle in some areas, so you need to go really carefully to prevent another rock collapse. Moreover, the natural texture of the rock makes it difficult to direct the drills. They have to constantly correct the angle because certain sections of the rock throw off the angle.

      The rescue in Pennsylvania took three days, but it was 1/10 the depth, and the rock is much softer.

      The depth also means that there will be a ton of debris from the drilling that will need to be cleared. They are first drilling a small hole, then making that hole bigger, and then making that hole bigger, and so on. An estimated 3000-4000 tons of rock will fall! The miners will need to work 24/7 to clear the debris that falls from the drilling. That might actually be good for their mental health.

    • The mine is poorly mapped out, so they don't know where there are rock seams or unsteady sections. Most importantly, they don't know where there are water pockets. If those areas are punctured, it could flood the miners. They need to constantly pause to take geological measures to try to detect water pockets or unsteady sections near the drill.

    • A rescue of this depth in this type of rock is unprecedented. The equipment for the final stage will need to be custom-made, so you don't know how well they will work.

    • Now that the miners have a steady stream of supplies and are physically okay, they can afford to err on the safe side in terms of the rescue effort. Remember how two rescue workers died trying to help the miners in Utah a few years ago?

    • Most of all, I think, they want to prepare the miners and families for the worst case scenario, which is four months. I have a feeling they will get out before then, but they want them to be prepared for the worst rather than be disappointed if they don't get out earlier.


    Unlike the situation in Pennsylvania, the miners are not surrounded by toxic gases because it is not a coal mine, so physically, they will likely be okay.

    The miners' mental health is the greater danger, I think. They are doing everything they can to help them--supplies to make them more comfortable, lights, organized schedule, entertainment, contact with loved ones and others, professional therapy sessions over the phone, and medications for the handful of miners who have already shown symptoms of depression and acute anxiety. In addition, these guys are used to spending most of their waking hours in that environment, so that's a huge advantage.

    But, still, given the conditions--remember it's in the high 80's or low 90's temperature-wise (~30C) and really humid--I have a bad feeling. They are pumping cold fresh air into the mine through the supply hole, so hopefully that will cool it down and make it less humid, but still, it's awful. In addition, though they have been given many battery-powered lights, they are in a large tunnel (much more than the 500 sq ft chamber people originally thought), so the lights are barely making a dent on the darkness. In one of the videos, you can see some lightbulbs in the background, but it was still really really dark.
    Last edited by Gazpacho; 09-01-2010 at 07:12 PM.

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    It's an horrible situation...I visited a silver mine about a year ago in Potosi, Bolivia. I stayed in there for about 2 to 3 hours. I just cannot see myself having to live there for 4 entire months. It's humid and hot and you cannot really breathe normaly because of all the particules in the air. I hope they all come out safe and healthy sometime soon!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gazpacho View Post
    The miners' mental health is the greater danger, I think. They are doing everything they can to help them--supplies to make them more comfortable, lights, organized schedule, entertainment, contact with loved ones and others, professional therapy sessions over the phone, and medications for the handful of miners who have already shown symptoms of depression and acute anxiety. In addition, these guys are used to spending most of their waking hours in that environment, so that's a huge advantage.

    But, still, given the conditions--remember it's in the high 80's or low 90's temperature-wise (~30C) and really humid--I have a bad feeling. They are pumping cold fresh air into the mine through the supply hole, so hopefully that will cool it down and make it less humid, but still, it's awful. In addition, though they have been given many battery-powered lights, they are in a large tunnel (much more than the 500 sq ft chamber people originally thought), so the lights are barely making a dent on the darkness. In one of the videos, you can see some lightbulbs in the background, but it was still really really dark.
    God I know. I'm not a religious person but I'm praying for mental strength for them every day. Talk about the tiny house thread and going crazy in a small space - this situation is 33 guys in a 500-sq ft living area! They've already been down there a month though, and have organized a living situation for themselves and nobody's gotten physically sick yet, so that's a good sign.

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    Yeah I was surprised that there wasn't a thread. Crazy story.

    I hear they have a few kilometers of tunnels so they can at least move around.

    The other thing I heard is that the hole they plan to drill will only be 35 or 36" wide...so if you're overweight they don't have a plan to get you out. They are depending on the miners losing weight over the next few months and have recommended some activities to reduce their weight. I can't imagine they are eating much anyway so this issue may be moot.

    I hate to bring up morbid things but where do you go to the bathroom? You can't wash, brush your teeth, shave? As with the head and humidity the living conditions will only serve to contribute to the anxiety.

    My thoughts and best wishes are with them.

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    I am the most claustrophobic person I know, I cannot imagine what they are going through, and the thought of it lasting months is just impossible to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rock2 View Post
    The other thing I heard is that the hole they plan to drill will only be 35 or 36" wide...so if you're overweight they don't have a plan to get you out. They are depending on the miners losing weight over the next few months and have recommended some activities to reduce their weight. I can't imagine they are eating much anyway so this issue may be moot.
    Actually, the hole will only be 26" wide. The men are eating plenty now, making it tricky. They lost about 20 pounds each during the 17 (!!) days they spent before being found. Some men became dangerously underweight, but a few men, who had been obese prior, are still too overweight to fit in the rescue hole. They have to give them the same food to avoid tensions, so a reduced-calorie diet isn't an option. The mine isn't exactly a place to do cardiovascular activities, and based on the video, the overweight miners are older, so challenging exercise could be dangerous in that heat and humidity.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rock2 View Post
    I hate to bring up morbid things but where do you go to the bathroom? You can't wash, brush your teeth, shave? As with the head and humidity the living conditions will only serve to contribute to the anxiety.
    During the 17 days before they were discovered, they used the far end of a tunnel to urinate and defecate. There wasn't much of it because they weren't eating or drinking. Now that they're eating and drinking a lot, I can't believe they're still letting 33 men use the tunnel end Talk about unsanitary! What about e-coli? Wouldn't it be better for them to go in containers and send it up?

    As far as the other activities you mention, the men have gotten toothbrushes, razors, shampoo, etc. They're really making a huge effort to keep them comfortable, but there's only so much they can do, and I'm not sure some of their decisions have been good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gazpacho View Post
    Actually, the hole will only be 26" wide. The men are eating plenty now, making it tricky. They lost about 20 pounds each during the 17 (!!) days they spent before being found. Some men became dangerously underweight, but a few men, who had been obese prior, are still too overweight to fit in the rescue hole. They have to give them the same food to avoid tensions, so a reduced-calorie diet isn't an option. The mine isn't exactly a place to do cardiovascular activities, and based on the video, the overweight miners are older, so challenging exercise could be dangerous in that heat and humidity.

    During the 17 days before they were discovered, they used the far end of a tunnel to urinate and defecate. There wasn't much of it because they weren't eating or drinking. Now that they're eating and drinking a lot, I can't believe they're still letting 33 men use the tunnel end Talk about unsanitary! What about e-coli? Wouldn't it be better for them to go in containers and send it up?

    As far as the other activities you mention, the men have gotten toothbrushes, razors, shampoo, etc. They're really making a huge effort to keep them comfortable, but there's only so much they can do, and I'm not sure some of their decisions have been good.
    26" wide??!?! That's MY waist size, and I'm an underweight woman! I cannot get any thinner, I'm already all bone around my hips! My bf is a little wisp of a guy (he can almost fit in my pants!) and his waist is 30".

    So unless all of the miners are short tiny dudes, I cannot fathom how they can figure 26" wide tunnel is enough for everybody! Heck, 26" is my waist circumference and my shoulders are wider!

    I read that today was the first time they had hot food, but it didn't say how much they were given. Food for 33 guys is quite a lot to send down a tiny tunnel...

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    I am guessing 26" is the diameter of the hole. It should be big enough for most people.

    But all together, what a terrible situation.

    The pocket they are trapped in seems to be quite large so everyone has space. That's one good thing. But still, I can't imagine living in such darkness, heat and humidity for four months.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anita18 View Post
    26" wide??!?! That's MY waist size, and I'm an underweight woman! I cannot get any thinner, I'm already all bone around my hips! My bf is a little wisp of a guy (he can almost fit in my pants!) and his waist is 30".

    So unless all of the miners are short tiny dudes, I cannot fathom how they can figure 26" wide tunnel is enough for everybody! Heck, 26" is my waist circumference and my shoulders are wider!

    I read that today was the first time they had hot food, but it didn't say how much they were given. Food for 33 guys is quite a lot to send down a tiny tunnel...
    26" diameter, not circumference The 26" is the diameter of the hole, but the diameter of the basket will be significantly less because they need ample room on the sides to avoid scraping against the hole.

    They were given over 2,000 calories. They're sending stuff down 24 hours a day, and the tube is 5 feet long, so a lot can reach them. They even have PlayStations. What they don't have, however, is sufficient light, and zero sunlight
    Last edited by Gazpacho; 09-02-2010 at 05:27 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gazpacho View Post
    26" diameter, not circumference But that's still small, and based on the video, some of the guys still have a lot of weight to lose. They can make their shoulders fit by either squeezing them toward their chest or raising one while lowering the other.

    They were given over 2,000 calories. They're sending stuff down 24 hours a day, and the tube is 5 feet long, so a lot can reach them. They even have PlayStations. What they don't have, however, is sufficient light, and zero sunlight
    Oh right. And here I was thinking I was getting better at math.

    They have experts from NASA advising them, so that's a plus. Obviously they don't want these guys to starve, having enough to eat will probably help their mental state. Playstations will definitely help them from getting bored and thinking too much....I'd say thinking too much (and probably seeing too much of their surroundings) is probably detrimental in this situation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gazpacho View Post

    Uh-Oh...

    Maybe is is safer for him where he is!

    Ought to be interesting when he gets out!
    Peace & Love, Gypsy
    Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.


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    Why am I not surprised that the men are working together while the women are engaging in petty cat fights?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gazpacho View Post
    Why am I not surprised that the men are working together while the women are engaging in petty cat fights?
    I think that is a little

    The men are in a small confined area, they have been work team mates for some time. This most likely a team that has had to become strong/dependent on each other existence.

    In a poor community where women may not work, they are dependent on their minor to provide support.

    Re the wife and the husband's mistress - I am sure that this happens everyday in some part of the world. Again, if you are dependent upon this minor for your livelyhood, I think that it will be a big issue.
    Re the mother in law and wife - just because there has been a tragedy doesn't mean that after 6 years this will suddenly be cured because your spouse/son is trapped. And from what I read both women were getting some living expenses support.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gazpacho View Post
    Yes, the best equipment and expertise has been sent from all over the world, and Chile is a large mining country that has world-class equipment.

    I haven't heard anyone say it can be done in one month. Two months is the best-case scenario reported, but they are saying over and over again that it will probably be 3-4 months Some reasons:

    ..........................
    thank you for posting this and the other bits of info- i havebeen wondering may of these questions since hearing of this- i also didnot realise they were already a month into this ordeal-

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