Chile miners: Earlier rescue possible

Oct. 2, 2010 at 3:15 PM
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COPIAPO, Chile, Oct. 2 (UPI) -- The 33 men trapped in a Chilean copper mine since Aug. 5 could be rescued by Oct. 15 if all goes well, officials said.

Rescuers previously said the rescue wouldn't come before November, but drilling is going faster than expected, and a rescue capsule was successfully tested, the BBC reported Saturday.

Drillers are boring three different shafts toward the miners, but the bore called Plan A is just over 100 feet short of the depth needed for the rescue capsule. However, the shaft still needs to be widened to accommodate its diameter, the report said.

The men are living on supplies sent through earlier bore holes about 4-inches in diameter, and spend their days watching the news and movies on a small projector.

Some are working out with a trainer, who leads the exercise over a video conference system. Officials said the exercise helps the men pass time, and will assist some in losing weight to fit more easily inside the rescue capsule.

Mining Minister Laurence Golborne said Friday he will celebrate the rescue when the last man is pulled out of the mine.

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