Home > Americas > Chile Mine Collapse: Drill is 40 Meters Away from Trapped Miners

Chile Mine Collapse: Drill is 40 Meters Away from Trapped Miners

Officials address the media at the San Jose Mine, Chile, October 8, 2010.

(Credit: CBS/Fernando Suarez)

Thirty-three men have been trapped 700 meters below ground since the San Jose mine collapse on Aug. 5, 2010. CBS News‘ Fernando Suarez reports from the site in Chile.


Officials at the San Jose Mine in Chile today said the Plan B drill is 40 meters away from breaking through to the trapped miners and a break could come as early as this evening.

Once the drill reaches the miners a decision will be made whether or not to case the hole. Casing the hole is not only risky, but can add an additional four to 10 days to complete. Chilean Mining Minister Laurence Golborne said the actual extraction process alone could take two days. Golborne cautioned that breaking through may be good news, but no one is out yet.

Complete Coverage: Chile Mine Collapse

The drill bit was changed early this morning to ensure that it’s good enough for the rescue. The speed of the drill will slow down as it approaches the miners to ensure they don’t penetrate too deeply.

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Health Minister Jamie Manalich said the miners are split into 3 groups. The strongest, more agile and skilled miners who can offer assistance and information to the surface team will be out first. Then, the more vulnerable miners: those who are sick, older, and heavier. The remaining “normal” miners will be the third group. Two rescue workers, a rescue miner and a doctor, will go down first to evaluate the miners.

The men have been trapped 2,300 feet below ground since the mine caved in August 5, 2010.

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