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Updated: September 17, 2010 20:53 IST

First rescue shaft reaches trapped Chilean miners

IANS
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Workers operate a drill in the rescue effort for 33 miners trapped in the collapsed San Jose mine in Copiapo, Chile, on Thursday. Photo: AP.
Workers operate a drill in the rescue effort for 33 miners trapped in the collapsed San Jose mine in Copiapo, Chile, on Thursday. Photo: AP.

The first rescue shaft drilled to relieve the plight of 33 miners trapped deep underground in Chile has reached its goal, a local radio station reported.

The shaft reached a mine workshop some 630 metres under the surface, 70 metres above where the miners are trapped, Radio Cooperativa reported.

The miners have been trapped underground since the shaft they were working in collapsed on August 5.

While they are now getting water, food, oxygen and messages through small ducts, and have telephone, power and television lines, they are not expected to be rescued until October or November.

The drilling equipment used by rescuers can manage some 18 metres per hour, but the 30 cm shaft it creates must still be widened to some 70 cm in diameter before a full rescue can begin.

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