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Chile miners: Rescue capsule lowered nearly all the way down in test run at Chilean mine

October 12, 2010 |  9:42 am

Getprev In a test run Monday, engineers succeeded in lowering a rescue capsule almost all the way down the 2,000-foot hole through which crews plan to lift 33 trapped miners, perhaps starting late Tuesday or early Wednesday, government officials said.

Chilean Mining Minister Laurence Golborne told reporters that the team preparing to retrieve the miners trapped since Aug. 5 had finished the job of partially lining the uppermost part of the shaft with metal tubing to guard against cave-ins. Officials had been concerned that the 28-inch diameter hole could be unstable and thereby jeopardize the progress of the rescue capsule.

 "It was a very promising test," Golborne said. "The video camera that was inside the capsule to survey the hole found no irregularities of the walls."

He said getting the men out of the mine will take two days and could begin as early as Tuesday night. The timing depends on how quickly a platform can be completed to support a winch that will lower and raise the capsule.

President  Sebastian Pinera  is expected to arrive at the mine Tuesday to see the rescue and greet the miners.

Health Minister Jaime Manalich said the miners were excited about their impending rescue but seemed to be in control of their emotions. "They are much calmer than those of us up here above," Manalich said.

Continue reading "Rescue capsule lowered nearly all the way down in test run at Chilean mine," by Chris Kraul reporting from Copiapo, Chile.

Photo: Chilean Mining Minister Laurence Golborne, center, speaks during a press conference at the San Jose mine near the city of Copiapo. Credit: Rodrigo Arangua / AFP, Getty Images.


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