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Chile Mine Rescue – The full story
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13th October 2010 was an important day in the history of  South American country Chile. One of the most extraordinary rescue operations in  history took place on this particular day. 33 miners who trapped 700m below the ground for 68 days were rescued in the most adventurous way.  It was an example of the  value of commitment,  the value of team work and the value of faith and courage.

On 5th August 2010, two teams of miners were sent to San Jose Copper and Gold Mine, Chile for the mining work . Suddenly, at 2;0clock in the after noon, a part of the mine was collapsed . The team which was working very close to the mining entrance were rescued immediately. Other team was working far away  and below 700m from the ground. The rescue workers tried to reach the second team by removing the collapsed portion but it was an Herculean task.. On 7th August,  another part of the mine was collapsed  and the second team was trapped without any access to come out. They tried their best to use the ventilation shaft , unfortunately there was no steps available. . The situation in the mine was very tough. There was no light, very hot with 32 degree temperature and 95% humidity. These miners were having stock of emergency food and water for 48 hours. When they found that there was no way to come out,  few of the miners become desperate. However, their shift supervisor Mr.Luis Urzua was a very strong person. Immediately he took over the charge and moved them to a secure place called refuge room. It was 50.sq.m room with two benches. He motivated, inspired and gave them courage and hope that the rescue team can come at any time. He divided them into 3 groups and asked them to be incharge by shift . One team has been given the charge of finding rescues, other team to keep the place neat and clean and the third team was instructed to find ways to find water sources and other requirements. He instructed every one to take 2 spoon full tuna fish, one sip of  milk and a biscuit in every 48 hours so that they can survive about 15  days until some rescue method is found. Some water was obtained from the radiators of vehicles inside the mineshaft. The men used truck batteries to power their hard hat lamps for illumination.

Meanwhile, the Chile’s President instructed to get the  best rescue operation expert from another Mine. Thus Mr Andre Sougarret, a mining engineer and expert in rescue operations was called. After studying various options and mining maps, he ordered to start percussion drills to make 8 exploratory boreholes about 15 centimeters (5.9 in) wide to find the miners. Because of the extreme 700meters depth of the drill effort and the notoriously hard rock that exacerbated the drill's tendency to drift. On 19 August, the 14th day of the rescue operation, one of the probes reached a space where the miners were believed to be trapped but found no signs of life.

On 22 August at 07:15 CLT, the eighth borehole reached a ramp, at 688 meters (2,257 ft) underground, about 20 meters (66 ft) from an emergency shelter room where the miners were expected to have taken refuge.[The miners had heard the drills approaching for days and had prepared pre-written notes to their rescuers on the surface as well as making sure they had insulation tape to secure the prepared notes to the drill once its tip poked into their space. When the drills were taken out, the notes surprised the rescuers and discovered the letters. A note written on a piece of paper with a red marker that confirmed the miners were alive. The note read: : "We are okay in the shelter, the 33 [of us]").

Hours later, video cameras sent down the borehole made contact with thetrapped men, capturing the first images.

On 23 August, voice contact was made with the miners. They reported having few medical problems; the doctor in charge arranged Glucose, rehydration tablets, oxygen and medicines. These were sent down using 1.50m long blue plastic capsules called Palomas. One of the miners, Mr. Yonni Barrios, who had some medical experience was asked to give vaccination against tetanus, diphtheria, flu and pneumonia. Many of the miners developed severe skin problems due to the hot and wet conditions.

Delivery of solid food began a few days later. Two other boreholes were completed—one for air enriched with oxygen, the second for video conference equipment to allow daily chats with family members. Fluorescent lights with timers were sent down to keep the men on a normal schedule by imitating day and night. Also religious items such as holy bible and statues of Virgin Mary  were  sent down . Mario Gómez (63), the eldest miner became a religious leader in the group, organizing prayers and counseling 

Meanwhile, To reach the miners and to make Rescue (escape) shaft, they marked 3 locations on the ground and used different drilling techniques and different equipments. One of the drills, marked Drill_B reached the miners on 9th October.

After visual inspection of the shaft with video cameras, it was decided that the top 56 metres of the shaft to be encased with steel pipes to prevent rockfalls from jamming the escape capsule.

The diameter of the rescue shaft was 66 cm  and  through this a carriage capsule, 54cm in dia  called Pheonix has to pass.. This carriage capsule will carry the miner to top.  So the miners were instructed to do special exercises to reduce their waistline. This capsule contains a small video camera which will be focussed on each miner's face so rescuers can watch for panic, and also two-way voice communications. The capsule included oxygen masks, heart monitors etc.

On 12th October, Before sending the first rescuer, the phenox capsule was tested empty by lowering till reaches the miners. Then it was tested with the first rescuer Manuel Gonzalez., he was an experienced rescue expert. The capsule moved 1M/Sec.  González arrived in the collapsed mine and made contact with the miners at 23:36.

Six hours before the rescue, each miner switched to a purely liquid diet, rich in sugars, minerals and potassium, as recommended by NASA. Miners took an aspirin to avert formation of blood clots.

Each miner was strapped into the bullet-shaped capsule, wearing a green moisture-resistant dress and sunglasses to avoid retinal damage from initial exposure to sunlight. It took 15-20 minutes to bring each miner to the top. It started lifting one by one and they rescued all the 33 miners within 22 hours and 48 minutes. The last man who came up was the team leader Luis

This successful operation was an example of perseverance, patience,  devotion, determination and team work. "People who can't wait for anything for even five minutes should learn a lot from these rescued miners who are  trapped  almost for 70 days."

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