Thirty-three miners trapped deep underground for 17 days after a cave-in at a small private gold and copper mine in northern Chile are alive, but still have to spend more time underground until they can be hauled out.
Rescuers on Sunday began lowering listening devices to locate miners who stuck 1,300 feet below in the San José mine is located in the Atacama Desert, 500 miles north of Santiago.
The Chilean Mining Minister said it will “probably take a week” to reach the miners who have been trapped since Thursday, according to Chilean newspaper La Tercera.
Miners didn’t have any contact with other people since the collapse and it is unknown whether the miners have successfully reached an underground shelter where there is enough water, food, and oxygen to last 72 hours.
The listening equipment should reach the bottom of the mine by Monday morning, said rescue worker Luis Salazar.
Chilean President Sebastián Piñera visited the miners’ families on Saturday evening and confirmed to them that the government will do everything humanly possible, using all resources and all alternatives to try to save the lives of the 33 miners trapped. He added that he will go back to visit the mine as often as necessary.
In 2007, an explosion at the San Jose mine killed three workers.
San Esteban, the company that owns the mine, said that 33 workers were trapped, not 34, as originally thought.