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Chile mine rescue: 5 final steps to freedom

It took 33 days to drill a 622-meter shaft down to the 33 trapped miners, completed Monday. Several steps remain before freedom comes to the men who have lived a half-mile under the Atacama Desert since a mine collapse on Aug. 5.

Rescue workers stand next to a colleague who is inside a capsule after performing a dry run test for the eventual rescue of the 33 trapped miners at the San Jose mine, near Copiapo, Chile, Oct. 11.
Hugo Infante/Government of Chile/AP
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5. Miners build platform

Since the beginning, the trapped miners have been asked to participate in their own rescue. One of their final tasks is building a platform for the rescue capsule that will carry them all up to the Earth's surface.

Work finished Monday to line the top 300 feet of the shaft with steel to prevent loose rocks from falling on the capsule. Work then began on a platform to support the capsule, both above ground and below ground. The Financial Times reports:

On the floor of the workshop from where they will be winched out, the miners will use rock that they have cleared as the drill approached to make a platform for easier access into the capsule. They will top the platform with planks of wood that have already been sent down to them via a communication hole, known as a “dove” through which they are also receiving food, medicines and entertainment.


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