Drill Reaches Trapped Miners in Chile, but Risks Remain
Three efforts were organized to drill holes that could accommodate a rescue capsule. Known as Plans A, B, and C, they proceeded simultaneously. It was Plan B that was on the verge of breaking through to the trapped men on Friday, at a spot more than 2,050 feet below the surface — roughly twice as deep as the Empire State Building is tall.
SAN JOSÉ MINE, Chile — A drill has broken through and reached the 33 miners trapped nearly a half a mile below underground for more than two months, Chilean officials announced Saturday morning amid celebratory bells. A powerful drill, twisting and pounding its way through the abrasive volcanic rock, completed a rescue hole for the miners to be hauled to the surface, according to Chile’s mining minister. But a rescue would still be days away, and officials here warned that the operation was entering its most dangerous phase. Every decision, they said, carried a risk that the inspiring story consuming the Chilean government and captivating the world could quickly turn toward disaster