The start of the drilling phase and the visit to Chile of a group of experts from the U.S. space agency NASA, marked the fourth week underground for 33 workers who are trapped in the depths of a gold and copper mine in the north of the country.
The Raise Borer Strata 950 drilling machine will have to dig 702 meters that separate the workers from the surface, in a process which will take a minimum of three months.
The President of Chile, Sebastián Piñera, reported that rescue tasks are «on track» and recalled that a T-130 drilling machine which will widen, as an alternative to the main excavation, some of the ducts used for contact with the miners “is on its way”.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Jaime Mañalich received the U.S. delegation formed by the deputy medical chief of NASA James Michael Duncan, the psychologist Behavioral Health Operations Albert Willard Holland, the head of the Space Medicine Division James Davis Polk, and the leading expert of Engineering and Safety Center Clint Cragg.
American experts will remain until Saturday at ‘Camp Hope’ where the families of the miners are staying, to support the authorities given their experience with astronauts who must stay long periods in harsh and isolated environments.
According to the National Bureau of Emergency (Onemi), the workers are in good health, except for very specific digestive problems and sleep disturbance. Thanks to this good news, they started to supply hot food. The first course consisted of rice and meat.