Zuma sends message of support to Chile

2010-10-13 13:22

President Jacob Zuma today sent a message of support to his Chilean counterpart President Sebastian Pinera.

Zuma said today: “We rejoice, along with the rest of the world, on the successful rescuing of some of the miners who have been trapped 700m
underground since August 5 in northern Chile.

“Having a strong mining culture like Chile, we can fully empathise with the fears and anxieties of those that have suffered this terrifying experience, the victims, their next-of kin, the government and the people of Chile as a whole.”

Zuma also congratulated SA Mines Rescue Services and others who offered their resources and expertise to the rescue process.

The rescue was started at 4.15am today, with the first miner surfacing just after 5am (South African time).

The 33 miners, 32 Chileans and a Bolivian, were trapped 688m underground for 69 days in the San Jose mine near Copiapo in the north of Chile.

The miners had been trapped since August 5, after the main access tunnel to the mine collapsed.

South African engineering, contracting and construction services company Murray & Roberts was part of the rescue operation sending its large diameter raise drilling machine, the Strata 950, to drill a pilot hole to reach the trapped miners.

The South African drill was the first one on site.

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