Plan B drill 260 metres closer to trapped miners
Drilling efforts to free 33 trapped Chilean miners had made progress, with the nearest drill having reached 268 metres below ground, local media reported Wednesday, dpa reported.
The Schramm drill, which Chilean authorities describe as Plan B, aims to get 630 metres underground, to an area that the miners can reach themselves from below.
The miners have been trapped 700 metres below the earth's surface since the shaft they were working on under the Atacama Desert collapsed on August 5. Contact was only re-established with the miners 17 days later.
The primary effort to free the men focusses on the drilling of a small duct that would later be enlarged to the 70 centimetres required to pull out the miners. The rescue could happen as early as October.
That so-called Plan A drill, a Xstrata which is drilling a single 66-centimetre-wide tunnel, has reached 141 metres underground.
A third option, using a bigger and stronger drill normally used for oil and gas extraction, was to start digging Wednesday.
The rescue was originally scheduled for early December, although recent developments lead experts to note that it might in fact come earlier.