Sunday, September 26, 2010

Chile, Miners, Rescue Capsule, Time: "There's No Use Speculating"

"Chile miners: Family joy as rescue capsule arrives"
BBC Latin America & Caribbean (September 25, 2010)

"A cage specially built to help rescue 33 men trapped underground in a mine in Chile has arrived at the mine head.

"The steel capsule will be used to pull the men to safety one by one, once a rescue shaft wide enough to haul them up has been drilled.

"Relatives of the miners were allowed to get into the narrow cage, which is little more than 50cm (20in) wide.

"It is expected to take between 20-30 minutes to pull each miner up from their shelter at a depth of 700m.

"The long - and extremely narrow - steel case has been named Phoenix, and its designers hope it will lift the men to a new life overground much like the bird in Greek mythology rose from the ashes...."

The capsule has 90 minutes worth of oxygen, communication gear, and an escape hatch in the bottom - so if the capsule gets stuck along the way to the surface, he's got a shot at winching himself back down to the shelter.

The idea, of course, is to get the miners up, one at a time, with no problems along the way. It's good to know that whoever's planning the rescue has backups like that hatch in the capsule's base.


"Rescue cage arrives at Chile mine"
CNN (September 25, 2010)

"...[Chilean Mining Minister Laurence] Golborne said the capsule weighed 420 kilograms (924 pounds) and its interior height was six feet, four inches (1.9 meters)...."

"...Its [the rescue capsule] arrival Saturday, far ahead of the government's initial estimate that was around the end of next week, is the first hint rescuers could be accelerating the timeline for recovering the men from a cavern some 700 meters (2,300 feet) underground.

"Asked about a media report citing Chilean government sources saying the rescue could come as early as October 15, Golborne replied: 'This will be over when it's over. There's no use speculating.'..."

"This will be over when it's over...." Sounds sensible to the Lemming.

At six feet, four inches high by 20 inches - a bit under two feet - in diameter, the inside of that capsule is around the size of an old-fashioned phone booth. Sounds roomy. For someone who's not being pulled up a half-mile-deep shaft for 20 or 30 minutes.

Still, the Lemming doubts that any of the miners will be be very hesitant to get into the capsule. Not after spending a few months in that chamber.

Related post, in another blog:

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