Chile approves design of rescue pod for miners
Published 15/09/2010 | 05:00
Chilean authorities have approved the design of a 21-inch wide rescue capsule that will eventually carry each of the 33 trapped miners 2,300 feet to the surface of the Atacama desert.
After enduring what is expected to be between three and four months trapped within the San Jose mine, the men will have to climb into a narrow bullet-shaped cylindrical pod for the ascent -- a journey that will take at least an hour.
A technical team from Chile's navy will start constructing the bullet-shaped chamber so it is ready when one of three drilling efforts finally bores through the solid rock to create a shaft wide enough to raise the men, who have been trapped since the mine collapsed on August 5.
The steel rescue cage will have an external diameter of 21in(54cm) and a reinforced roof to protect its passenger against any rocks or debris.
This week the miners started an exercise regime to ensure that they stay slim enough to fit into the capsule. The men, who will be raised one by one in an operation expected to last several days, will be strapped into the chamber in a harness that will keep them in a secure standing position even if they faint. (© The Daily Telegraph, London)