When Chile miners emerge, first hours will not be with families
The 33 miners trapped 700 metres underground in northern Chile will not be able to share with their families their first few hours back on the surface, dpa reported.
Alberto Iturra, the head psychologist assisting the miners, warned Thursday that the workers will first need to be taken to the field hospital in the Atacama desert immediately above the mine, and from there to a hospital in the northern Chilean city of Copiapo, to determine their condition.
"They obviously have to spend a few days in observation, so as to stabilize all their physiological variables and all their individual variables. They cannot be discharged until they are fit to be discharged, and that is clear to the families already," Iturra said.
He noted that the trapped workers are getting fitness training and also working on stamina and on ways to focus on the rescue, expected as early as November.
The miners have been trapped underground for seven weeks, since the shaft they were working in collapsed August 5.
The Chilean Navy shipyards, Asmar, have joined preparations for the rescue, and are building three capsules in which the miners are to hauled to the surface, Chilean authorities confirmed Thursday.
"(Asmar) started to manufacture them yesterday, and in the next few days we expect the cages to arrive here," said rescue team deputy leader Rene Aguilar.
The so-called Plan A drill, a Strata 950, has reached 432 metres into the earth in its first, 45-centimetre-diametre tunnel.
Plan B, a Schramm T-130 drill, has drilled a small tunnel to the 33 miners, and is now enlarging it to a diametre of around 70 cm to accommodate the miners' being lifted out of the accident site. It is 111 metres underground in that task.
The larger, more powerful oil drill, Plan C, has reached 42 metres.