Friday 15 October 2010

Chile - disaster averted

Just back from Turkey in time for the wonderful news of the rescue of all 33 of the trapped Chilean miners, after 69 days underground. There are some dental and eye problems and one case of pneumonia, but overall they seem in remarkably good shape.

When it was first discovered they were still alive after 17 days, it was thought that it might take until Christmas to get them out. The dramatic reduction in the time needed appears to be thanks to the drafting in of a drill normally used in the oil industry.

Two other drills, which each start with a small, pilot hole before widening the shaft, were also used, but the Schramm T-130 starts with a wide hole, and soon outpaced the other two. Chile’s president, Sebastian Pinera, has promised “very radical” improvements to health and safety regulations in mining and other industries.

For other stories of people trapped for long periods underground, see my blog of August 24.

*Latest articles on London’s Disasters: from Boudicca to the Banking Crisis – Fire News (Aug/Sept issue) and H&F News (Hammersmith & Fulham) Sept 21 edition.

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