First of 3 res­cue cap­sules ar­rives at Chilean mine

A daugh­ter of one of the trapped men tries it out and deems it com­fort­able.

Los Angeles Times - - The World - times wire ser­vices

— The sus­pense over when and how the 33 trapped Chilean min­ers will exit their un­der­ground cav­ern grew in the sev­enth week of their ac­ci­den­tal im­pris­on­ment as de­tails of plans leaked out and the first of three spe­cially built res­cue cap­sules ar­rived at the mine Satur­day.

The man-size cap­sule will be used to pull the min­ers out one by one once one of the three res­cue holes be­ing drilled reaches the men.

Min­ing Min­is­ter Lau­rence Gol­borne showed off the first cap­sule to relatives of the trapped min­ers Satur­day.

About a dozen fam­ily mem­bers tried out the cap­sule, a 924-pound tube made of steel sheets and mesh that is big enough to hold one per­son.

Carolina Lo­bos, the 25year-old daugh­ter of trapped miner Franklin Lo­bos, said the de­vice seemed very small and con­fin­ing when she first saw it. But af­ter try­ing it out, she called it com­fort­able.

The cap­sule is nearly 10 feet tall on the out­side. In­side, the space is about 6 feet high and about 21 inches across.

The bot­tom of the cap­sule holds three tanks of com­pressed air, enough for about 90 min­utes of breath­ing.

The ac­tual jour­ney to the sur­face is ex­pected to take 20 min­utes.

Ami­cro­phone in­side will al­low each miner to stay in touch with those in­side and out­side the mine while be­ing pulled up, and in an emer­gency, such as the cap­sule get­ting jammed in the res­cue hole, the bot­tom can be opened with levers in­side so the miner can be low­ered back down by cable.

It will be at least Novem­ber be­fore the res­cue shaft reaches down al­most half a mile to the min­ers at a wide enough di­am­e­ter to ac­com­mo­date a hu­man body.

In pre­par­ing for that moment, res­cue of­fi­cials are dis­cussing how to best di­vide the gold and cop­per dig­gers into three groups for lo­gis­ti­cal and health rea­sons.

Jorge Diaz, the res­cue team’s head doc­tor, said the most tech­no­log­i­cally skill­ful min­ers would prob­a­bly come first. That first group would prob­a­bly have to be savvy enough to quickly help iron out kinks in the res­cue sys­tem be­ing built by the Chilean navy.

The next group would be the weak­est and sick­est, fol­lowed by the last group, Diaz said.

Diaz in­di­cated that med­i­cal tests would de­ter­mine how to clas­sify the min­ers.

The fi­nal de­ci­sion would be made by the res­cue of­fi­cer who is to be dropped down into the col­lapsed mine to as­sist the min­ers and ex­plain the plan, Diaz said.

The res­cue team re­cently has fo­cused on ways to help the min­ers han­dle psy­cho­log­i­cal and phys­i­cal chal­lenges once they emerge. Al­berto Iturra, the head psy­chol­o­gist on the res­cue team, said that work­ers will not see their fam­i­lies un­til they have been eval­u­ated at a hos­pi­tal.

The min­ers will also re­ceive train­ing in how to han­dle the pres­sure of the ex­pected at­ten­tion from the news me­dia and how to han­dle money they may get for their sto­ries.


Ariel Marinkovic

Carolina Lo­bos, the 25-year-old daugh­ter of Franklin Lo­bos, one of 33 trapped min­ers, stands in the cap­sule de­signed by the Chilean navy.

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