The operation to save Chile’s 33 trapped miners has reached a new stage with the completion of the drilling of a rescue shaft.
The next step is to line the shaft to a depth of 96 metres with metal tubes to ensure the miners can be brought up safely – an operation that will take a day and a half.
The tubes will have to be lowered in small sections and soldered together.
Then a mining specialist and a doctor will be lowered down the shaft via special capsules. They will assess the trapped men and decide who should be brought up first based on their physcial and mental state.
The miners will then be raised up one by one, each journey lasting an hour in complete darkness.
In all three capsules – measuring just 53 centimetres in diameter – have been made.
They are fitted with oxygen and a communications system, and in case of emergency, a system via which the miner can winch himself back down.