A special hydraulic bore has arrived to start drilling a rescue tunnel for the 33 miners trapped deep underground in Chile.
It is a welcome sight for the men’s families waiting at the surface.
Engineers have explained how they will dig a 66cm wide, 700m long escape shaft. It is likely to take four months.
They have also revealed they are looking at using one of the existing boreholes to bring the men up. This would only take two months but would be more risky.
“We thought the third shaft would help improve the ventilation, but now we are trying to work out if we could widen it to bring them up.”, Andre Sougarret, head of the rescue operation, told reporters at the surface.
The men have made a video showing their living conditions. They have been trapped since a cave-in on August the 5th, but seem in good spirits.
A lot of effort is going into maintaining the miners’ physical and emotional wellbeing. NASA experts are advising on how to cope with lengthy confinement, while rescuers have lowered card games, MP3 players and even a projection screen for films and football matches.