1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi all! No longer will threads be closed after 1000 (ish) messages. We may close if one gets so long to cause an issue and if you would like a thread closed to start a new one after a 1000 posts then just use the "Report Post" function. Enjoy!

Trapped miners in Chile

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Gazpacho, Sep 1, 2010.

  1. Gazpacho

    Gazpacho Well-Known Member

    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.
  2. caseyedwards

    caseyedwards Well-Known Member

    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.
  3. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

    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?
  4. Gazpacho

    Gazpacho Well-Known Member

    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: Sep 1, 2010
  5. firefly

    firefly Active Member

    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!
  6. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

    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.
  7. Rock2

    Rock2 Well-Known Member

    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.
  8. Lacey

    Lacey Well-Known Member

    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.
    numbers123 and (deleted member) like this.
  9. Gazpacho

    Gazpacho Well-Known Member

    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 :yikes: 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.
  10. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

    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...
  11. genegri

    genegri Active Member

    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.
  12. Gazpacho

    Gazpacho Well-Known Member

    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: Sep 2, 2010
  13. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

    Oh right. And here I was thinking I was getting better at math. :lol:

    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. :eek:
  14. Gazpacho

    Gazpacho Well-Known Member

    Gypsy and (deleted member) like this.
  15. Gypsy

    Gypsy Watching the Leaves Change!



    Maybe is is safer for him where he is!

    Ought to be interesting when he gets out! :watch:
  16. Gazpacho

    Gazpacho Well-Known Member

  17. numbers123

    numbers123 Well-Known Member

    I think that is a little :confused: :huh:

    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.
    Gazpacho and (deleted member) like this.
  18. victoriajh

    victoriajh trying to ignore rod and find the eurosport feed

    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-
  19. zowie

    zowie New Member


    I think some of it is the bias in the article to make it look like a cat fight. Really, the first article actually stated:

    Salinas clawed back at her rival, refusing to address Valenzuela by name.

    "This woman has no legitimacy," she hissed.

    Gazpacho and (deleted member) like this.
  20. Gazpacho

    Gazpacho Well-Known Member

    Reports are now saying that the men are creating some drama themselves, beyond the naturally dramatic situation and events. They sent back a customized board game because it contained spelling errors, and some have sent back food they didn't like :drama: They have refused orders to stop driving mining vehicles underground and have raised their demands for cigarettes and alcohol, which rescue workers have repeatedly shot down. They have also cursed out rescue workers. No doubt they are showing some major emotional cracks, as would be expected.

    Interestingly, this is progressing almost exactly as NASA and the Chilean Navy had predicted. They found that groups on long isolated expeditions (space or submarine) tend to take out their anger on mission control. On one NASA expedition, the astronauts even cut the communication link, refusing to speak to mission control.

    It's not the worst sign because a) it shows they are feeling physically okay and have the "luxury" of rejecting food and b) it's better for them to turn their frustration toward the rescue workers than toward each other. It must make the rescue workers feel like crap though :( and of course it's a sign that the miners have reached their limits and may take it out on each other soon.

    I hope their leader has a cool head and prevents this from taking over their morale. It's so hard for everyone :(
  21. Choupette

    Choupette Well-Known Member

    I just hope all of them can stay healthy until the rescuers can get to them. It would be terrible, terrible if one of them became ill and nothing could be done. :(
  22. skipaway

    skipaway Well-Known Member

    Talk about smokers vs. non-smokers' rights: They first tried the patch and gum...but apparently...nothing like a good smoke.

    Cigarettes sent to Miners
  23. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

    These miners are in a psychologically and physically dangerous situation. For some smokers Nicotine Replacement Therapy doesn't really do the trick and commitment, a lot of effort and/or therapy may be necessary for it to work effectively - I say this a smoker who is familiar with NRT.

    There is a chance that the smokers could flip out and perhaps become aggressive/violent.

    These men don't even know that they are going to get out of this alive, so making an huge issue out of smokers versus non-smokers rights might not go over well.

    The goal is just to get them through the hours and days and the men are going to have to make all sorts of compromises to get through this experience intact.

    And since the space is quite large, the smokers are at least able to put distance between themselves and the non-smokers.
  24. Gazpacho

    Gazpacho Well-Known Member

    The drill that had gotten the furthest down broke, and they haven't been able to get all the pieces out. They will try one more time to get all the pieces out, but if they can't, then they will either have to give up on that drill or start a new hole from scratch :(

    The other drill is chugging along, but it goes more slowly, and it's been periodically out of order for anywhere from a few hours to two days due to malfunctions. No major setbacks like the other hole, fingers crossed. At the beginning, they had to stop every few inches to reinforce the sides. Not sure if they still do, as they've entered a different layer of rock. A third drill is being set up, but it will take at least another week because the platform is the size of a football field.

    They are still on schedule to get out by Christmas, as officials had been saying, but maybe not long before that, as had been hoped :(

    The good news is that they sent a big power line down along with full spectrum light bulbs. But it's still not the same as real sunlight. In fact, they are hoisting them up at night because the daylight may harm their eyes.

    By the way, I read that not only is the temperature around 90F (30C), but the humidity is 90%!! :yikes:

    Sorry, if I were one of the non-smoking miners, I'd sure be pissed to be in the dark in 90 degree heat, 90% humidity with guys lighting up. The space is quite large, but all men move through all the spaces. They have a space for eating, a space for watching movies, a space for sleeping, etc. They have a set schedule and move in groups--they eat together, sleep together, etc. There's no way for the non-smokers to avoid the smokers. If their leader is a non-smoker, I hope he designates the toilet area as the only place for smoking.
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2010
  25. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

    Just shoot me now!! Though am an obedient social pariah and would accept being consigned to the toilet area. And I'd accept some sedatives as well. ;)

    Keep the reports coming Gazpacho, I'm really interested in this story.
  26. Gazpacho

    Gazpacho Well-Known Member

    The drill has been fixed! :cheer2:

    Wow, this is going to make one hell of a movie--a genre-defying saga. It's more than a horror, suspense, or inspiration movie. There are marriage proposals, exposed infidelity, family feuds, and a birth story! One of the miners' wives gave birth today, and they videotaped the delivery to send it down. They named the girl Esperanza, Spanish for "hope" :)

    Praying that the real-life movie has a happy ending!
  27. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

    I just watched a video about the miners - the bad news is that the mine will not be able to pay them and is likely to go bankrupt.
  28. Gazpacho

    Gazpacho Well-Known Member

    Yeah, the mine is claiming bankruptcy. Anyone know what the Chilean laws are in such a situation?

    The 33 miners will be very wealthy in the end from the movies, books, public appearances, etc. And they have been inundated with employment offers after they get out. The financial victims will be their co-workers who aren't in the mine but are unemployed as a result of the tragedy :(