Drilling of rescue shaft to 33 trapped Chilean miners delayed until Monday

By Jan-Uwe Ronneburger

Santiago (dpa) – The start of drilling for a rescue shaft to reach

33 trapped Chilean miners was delayed until Monday because technical

preparations had yet to be finished, the head of the rescue work said.

   They included reinforcing and settling the drill, Andre Sougarret

said Saturday, the day the drilling was to have begun.

   An additional motor for the drill was to be delivered from Germany

Sunday at the copper and gold mine near San Jose de Copiapo in the

Atacama Desert. The 15-ton motor was to speed up the drilling of the

66-centimetre-wide, 700-metre-deep shaft, which was expected to take

three to four months.

   The miners have been trapped since August 5 when a tunnel

collapsed at the mine, located about 700 kilometres north of Santiago.

   Rescue workers only determined they were still alive a week ago.

Since then, the miners have received food, water, medicine and news

from their relatives through a narrow tube as officials redoubled

their efforts to get them out.

   They were also considering enlarging the tiny tunnel that is being

used to supply the miners because it could shorten the rescue time to

two months.

   The miners have put up a brave front in the videos and other

messages they have sent to the surface. Five were suffering from

depression, but Health Minister Jaime Manalich said Saturday that

they had overcome it.