Engineers in Chile are exploring a plan that they hope will speed up the rescue of the miners. Plans begin today on drilling an escape shaft 700 m (2300 ft), which they estimate will take 4 months to complete. Engineers are excited that a second option might cut the time in ½ to rescue the men. It would include widening an existing tunnel and might be able to be accomplished in 2 months.
Either shaft will be two feet in diameter and the men will be lifted out one by one.
Earlier this week a video was released that show them men’s quarter and how they have organized their space with places to sleep, play dominos and pray. (See related Story)
The Chilean government is consulting with NASA on strategies to help the miners cope with the lengthy confinement. They are concerned that 5 of the 33 men did not appear in the video and might be suffering from depression. Card Games, mini video projectors and MPS players have been sent down to help the miners keep occupied.
Chilean authorities have closed at least 30 small mines for safety concerns since the August 5th cave-in.