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Smooth running Phoenix hauls miners home

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Smooth running Phoenix hauls miners home


The remarkable rescue of the trapped Chilean miners continues after it was interrupted briefly so engineers could make repairs to the Phoenix rescue capsule.

After five of the men had been winched to safety technicians set to work to fix the retractable wheels that help the pod travel smoothly up and down the rescue shaft.

The operation then continued.

The custom-built capsule was designed by NASA engineers and the Chilean navy.

The first 96 metres of the borehole is lined with 20 metre pipes to prevent crumbling surface rocks breaking away during the procedure.

The Phoenix, named after the mythic bird which rose from its own ashes, is decked out in the red, white and blue of the Chilean flag.

The pod, weighing 420 kilograms with a 53 centimetre diameter and an interior height of 1.9 meters descends the 610 metres into the mine, 12 metres short of the shaft bottom that has been the miners refuge and prison for the past 69 days.

Each man then takes a solo trip to the surface and is hauled up by an Austrian designed hoisting system.

The ascent takes some 16 minutes.

The miners vital signs are monitored and they are in communication with the surface at all times.

The Phoenix is also equipped with an escape shaft in case of any mishap.

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