Trapped Chilean miners will take four months to come to surface

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London, Aug.24 (ANI): The 33 miners trapped underground in a mine in Chile will need to spend the next four months participating in their own rescue before being pulled out by rope.

On Monday, each of the trapped men spoke and reported feeling hungry but well, except for one with a stomach problem, a Chilean official said last night.

He said that they had asked for toothbrushes.

Chile's TVN channel said that the digging would result in debris falling into the mineshaft. The miners would then be pulled out, "person by person, using rope," a channel reporter was quoted, as saying.

"They will need to help with their own rescue, because they will need to clear out debris that falls through from that excavation. They will need to clear out the material and facilitate the work being done on the surface," he said.

Rescue workers were last night set to begin lowering capsules of glucose, hydration gels, liquid nutrients, communication equipment and medicine down a 2,257 feet bore hole to the bottom of the San José mine, where the men have been trapped for the last 18 days, The Guardian reports.

The men's miraculous tale of survival was communicated to the world on Sunday when they attached a note to a probe sent into the shaft. It read: "All 33 of us are well inside the shelter."

Chilean president Sebastián Piñera confirmed the news, prompting nationwide celebrations and jubilant scenes on the surface of the mine, where the relatives had established a vigil.

Officials have described the bore-hole, which is just 8 centimeters wide, as an "umbilical cord" for the miners.

It will be key to keeping them healthy while a bigger hole is drilled as an escape route for the men, who are trapped in a shelter around 52 square meters, the size of a small apartment.

Rescuers also plan another shaft to ensure ventilation. The miners are thought to be enduring temperatures as high as 32 Celsius.

Widening the existing hole is also an option, although officials said excavating a 65 centimeter wide rescue tunnel would take between three and four months.

Experts predicted the men would probably survive the ordeal, although their survival would depend on the narrow bore hole, a lifeline that engineers were yesterday in the process of fortifying. (ANI)

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