Thursday 30 March 2017

How the extraordinary Chilean mine drama took shape

The Chilean miners have been trapped in a small copper and gold mine near the Chilean city of Copiapo, 500 miles north of Santiago since early August.



  • August 5: Cave-in leaves 33 miners trapped nearly half a mile underground.
  • August 6: Rescuers begin descending through a ventilation shaft.
  • August 8: Rescue workers begin drilling 5in-wide boreholes as they try to locate the missing miners.
  • August 19: A drill reaches the level where the miners were believed to be, but no sign of them is found.
  • August 22: Rescue workers hear tapping on the drill at 2,260ft. When the drill is pulled out, there is a note attached, saying: "We are fine in the shelter, 33 of us."
  • August 23: Food, water and medicine are lowered.
  • August 27: Video footage of the cave is shown to relatives.
  • August 31: Rescuers begin drilling a test hole.
  • September 2: Drilling suspended because of geological faults. Miners receive rosaries blessed by Pope Benedict XVI.
  • September 8: The miners watch a football match between Chile and Ukraine.
  • September 13: After much debate above ground, the miners begin receiving cigarettes.
  • September 14: Wife of one miner Ariel Ticona (29) gives birth to a baby girl.
  • September 24: The miners mark 50 days trapped underground.
  • September 25: The first of three rescue capsules, named Phoenix, arrives.
  • October 4: President Pinera says a rescue is "very close".
  • October 9: Rescue shaft reaches the miners. As the tip of the drill breaks through, one miner shouts: "We can see the nose. It's through, it's through!"
  • October 11: Miners learn their rescue will begin the following day.

Irish Independent

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