Chronology of the Chile mine disaster

2010-09-04 07:59

Santiago, Chile – Here is a timeline of the disaster and rescue operation of 33 miners trapped more than 700m underground for almost a month in a mine in northern Chile.

  • August 5: A mine shaft caves-in at a depth of 300m in the San Jose mine, 800km north of Santiago.

  • August 6: Chilean President Sebastian Pinera says his government will do “everything humanly possible” to rescue the 33 missing miners.

  • August 7: New cave-ins complicate attempts to undertake a direct rescue through a ventilation duct.

  • August 12: Mining Minister Laurence Goldborne says the chances of finding the miners alive are slim.

  • August 22: A drill probe reaches the miners and they attach a note to it saying: “All 33 of us are well inside the shelter.” The first video footage shows the miners waving their arms and apparently in good condition.

  • August 23: The trapped miners beg to be rescued soon.

  • August 25: Chilean officials tell the miners it could be months before they are rescued.

  • August 26: The family of one of the miners announces it will sue the owners of the mine and government inspectors. A Chilean judge orders $1.8 million (R12 million) to be frozen from the accounts of the mine in order to pay future compensation.

  • August 29: The miners, who have received a message of support from Pope Benedict XVI, move camp to a drier, cooler site deeper inside the mine. They also speak for the first time with their loved ones by radio-telephone.

  • August 30: Rescuers start drilling a 66cm wide shaft through which the miners will be pulled out one at a time.

  • September 2: The mine drilling effort, which has reached a depth of 40m, is briefly put on hold to shore up the shaft walls after a fault in the rock was detected.

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