26 Sep 2010

Rescue cage arrives at Chilean mine

3:08 pm on 26 September 2010

A special steel cage to help rescue 33 men trapped undergound in Chilean mine for seven weeks has arrived at the site to applause and cheers from the men's families.

Three machines are drilling tunnels down to the men, who are some 700 metres below the surface, in the San Jose mine near Copiapo.

Measuring 2.5 metres and weighing 250 kilograms, the capsule has been designed and made by the Chilean navy. It is one of three that will be used to hoist the men up through a shaft about 60-70 cm wide.

Once a tunnel widened to its final diameter reaches the men, an Austrian-made hoisting system of pulleys and cranes will bring the cage slowly up the rescue shaft.

Engineers said each trip will take from one to one-and-a-half hours, with the entire rescue lasting more than 24 hours.

Mining Minister Laurence Golborne said the plan was still to rescue the men by the first days of November.