The Chilean miners that were trapped over two months ago when the San Jose mine near Copiapo collapsed, could now be out within 10 days as the drill is now within 48 hours of reaching their refuge almost 700 meters underground.
The rescue capsule, dubbed the Phoenix, will move a single man at a time, and will travel through a metal lining placed inside the tunnel that is currently being drilled. Engineers believe it will take two to six days to install the metal tubing.
Once complete, a commando from the Chilean navy will be lowered into the mine to evaluate the miners’ health and divide them into three groups: the weak, the able, and the most able. They will be evacuated with the able going first and the most able going last as to leave the weak with the most able if anything were to happen.
Late Sunday night, the men began tightly rolling up their belongings and memorabilia and sending them to the surface inside hollow tubes being called “pigeons”, which are hauled up by rope.
While underground, the miners have been given media training for when they are rescued. Chilean officials are trying to teach the men to capitalize on the experience as well as the invasion of privacy that is likely to follow.
With the rescue drawing closer, hundreds of the miners’ family members are gathering closely in the already established makeshift town, as they wait in anticipation as the drillers’ progress brings the rescue closer and closer.