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NASA's Fenix Capsule  (Source: Chile's Presidency/AP)

Drilling machine operator Jeff Hart comforts Elizabeth Segovia, sister of one of the 33 miners  (Source: minnpost.com)
After 69 days of being trapped underground, the miners are being rescued

For 69 days, 33 miners were trapped in the San Jose copper and gold mine in Chile after a rockslide closed off their exit. But now, with the help of an escape capsule designed by NASA, the miners are being carried back to the Chilean surface to be reunited with family as well as seek medical attention.

The miners have been trapped 2,300 feet below ground level since August 5. They were discovered 17 days after the rockslide, and have survived until now due to rescue workers lowering water, food, medicine and other supplies down to the men. 

Around this same time in late August, NASA dispatched a four-man team to the mine. The team consisted of Clinton Cragg, a NASA engineer; Michael Duncan, a doctor; James Polk, a doctor, and Al Holland, a psychologist. 

Cragg began designing an escape capsule that could fit in a hole the size of a bicycle tire, and handed the finished plans to the Chilean navy, who built the capsule. The finished product was a 13-foot long, 924 pound steel rescue craft that had an escape hatch at the bottom. It was named "Fenix," after the mythical bird that rose from ashes. The Fenix capsule is very narrow, where miners have barely any room to move their shoulders, but contains a safety harness, a device to communicate with rescue teams and a clock. 

On Saturday, a drill finally reached the underground chamber where the 33 miners were trapped. During the early hours of October 13, rescue teams put Cragg's escape capsule to use and sent it down the hole in an effort to bring each individual miner back up to the surface.

Steadily, each miner is being pulled from the ground one by one inside the red, white and blue capsule. The first miner to rise from the "Fenix" was Florencio Avalos, who was greeted by chants and cheers of "Chile!" He arrived at the surface at 12:11 a.m.

"I'm overwhelmed with emotion because it's been so long since we have seen him," said Alfonso Avalos, Florencio's father. "I'm very proud of him. Thanks to God he got out and looks good."

The process has repeated itself throughout the morning, bringing each miner to safety through a half-mile of rock. It takes approximately 50 minutes to lower the capsule and bring it back up. Each miner is to wear moisture-resistant green coveralls on their ride up to the surface, and the most "fit" miners were to arrive to the surface first so they can advise rescue teams with the "technical know-how" surrounding the situation below. Those who were weakest will come out next, and finally, Luis Iribarren, the shift supervisor, will come out last. Rescue teams expect the last miner to arrive at the surface sometime Thursday morning. 

Among the rescue teams, family and friends present as the miners arrive at the surface was also Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, who hugged and greeted Avalos as he stepped onto Chilean ground for the first time in over two months. 

"We had promised to look until we found them," said Pinera. "We can all feel proud to be Chilean."

The miners looked relatively healthy as they walked out of the Fenix capsule. Health Minister Jaime Manalich noted that there were only minor problems associated with the miners' health, and that rescue was "going extraordinarily well so far."

At this point, just over a dozen miners have been rescued from the mine, and are being sent to a nearby hospital for medical attention before being allowed to go home to their families. 

"It's extremely exciting for us," said Jeff Hart, a lead driller with the rescue team. "It's a very emotional moment for us. We worked real long and hard on that, and to actually see the capsule come through the first time through the hole that we drilled was just unbelievable."



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Good job NASA
By DesertCat on 10/13/2010 12:45:52 PM , Rating: 5
NASA: "I'm from the government and I'm here to help."

Chilean Miners: Woohoo!




RE: Good job NASA
By MPE on 10/13/2010 12:50:11 PM , Rating: 1
Others: Big government!! BOOOO!!


RE: Good job NASA
By rcc on 10/13/2010 1:12:50 PM , Rating: 5
Rescuing people should be without politics. Shame on you.


RE: Good job NASA
By theapparition on 10/13/2010 1:23:01 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah but at the same time, the rescuees are fighting about which one will be last, just so they can get into the Guiness Book.

Talk about self absorbed and dumb.


RE: Good job NASA
By jvillaro on 10/13/2010 2:39:36 PM , Rating: 1
Talking about dumb...
Didn't it occur to you that it's all about solidarity, wanting to be the last so you're sure all of your friends and coworkers are ok? That was the case here, and thats how it played out when they were asked wich order they wanted to get out.

Desde Vzla, un gran saludos a los chilenos! Animos mineros falta poco! Chi chi chi le le le!!!


RE: Good job NASA
By The Raven on 10/15/2010 1:26:58 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Desde Vzla, un gran saludos a los chilenos! Animos mineros falta poco! Chi chi chi le le le!!!

Yeah I'm sure the first site that they will check on after they get out of that hole will be DailyTech. Way to get your message to them.


RE: Good job NASA
By Scabies on 10/13/2010 1:30:39 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Rescuing people should be without politics

rescuing companies, however...


RE: Good job NASA
By rcc on 10/13/2010 3:15:58 PM , Rating: 3
I believe the same thing applies. Should be no politics. Of course that would mean that not many companies get rescued.

Which could also be a good thing depending on what side of the fence you sit on.


RE: Good job NASA
By Jeffk464 on 10/14/2010 12:06:40 AM , Rating: 5
Plus, NASA is the good part of the government.


RE: Good job NASA
By Nfarce on 10/14/2010 1:41:11 PM , Rating: 4
Don't worry. That libtard douchebag Chris "tingling legs" Matthews beat everyone to it.

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1010/43592.ht...


RE: Good job NASA
By The Raven on 10/15/2010 1:23:55 PM , Rating: 1
Yeah you are right. NASA wasa the only one who could've come up with that. There is no way that a private company like Boeing, Lockheed, or even Ford could've come up with a solution to help them. Especially since it is well known that NASA is an acronym for the National Mining and Earth Administration and is an expert on such matters.

If the US didn't have NASA laying around looking for something to do, REI would've volunteered to get those guys out of there.

Oh and I'm sure there wasn't some big Chilean gov't entity that encouraged those miners to go down there for the benefit of their country. Or one that did a great job regulating the industry to ensure safety.

I'm not sure where you want to lean on "big gov't" here, but go gov't.

Oh and it is nice to know that with the crazy gazillions of dollars we have spent on NASA, we managed to save 33 people.

I'm sure we could save millions if we spent that money on investments other parts of the world.


RE: Good job NASA
By GotDiesel on 10/13/10, Rating: -1
RE: Good job NASA
By GotDiesel on 10/13/10, Rating: -1
RE: Good job NASA
By bupkus on 10/13/2010 3:12:47 PM , Rating: 2
...or perhaps it Spanish for phallus. Just look at it. Does it look like a bird to you? ;)


RE: Good job NASA
By foolsgambit11 on 10/13/2010 3:51:18 PM , Rating: 2
You're not hooked on Phoenix - I mean, phonics, are you?

I'm pretty sure Fenix is the Spanish spelling for the same mythical creature.


RE: Good job NASA
By sviola on 10/13/2010 4:06:27 PM , Rating: 3
Fenix is the Spanish and Portuguese version of Phoenix.


RE: Good job NASA
By MrWho on 10/13/2010 7:11:33 PM , Rating: 2
É verdade!


RE: Good job NASA
By ThisSpaceForRent on 10/13/2010 1:25:53 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe it's not a typo, but misunderstood.

http://starcraft.wikia.com/wiki/Fenix

Okay, yeah it's probably a typo.


RE: Good job NASA
By The Raven on 10/19/2010 11:45:36 AM , Rating: 2
No, actually I think they are Gears of War fans.


RE: Good job NASA
By theapparition on 10/13/2010 1:27:44 PM , Rating: 4
Yeah but maybe in Spanish it's actually spelled that way. Either that, or they wanted to get cute and spell it phonetically.

Or more likely, Apple has the trademark on the word Phoenix and refused to grant rights and would have sued to put the miners back if NASA infringed on their trademark.


RE: Good job NASA
By jvillaro on 10/13/2010 2:42:01 PM , Rating: 2
Fenix is phoenix in spanish


RE: Good job NASA
By YashBudini on 10/13/2010 10:23:34 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Fenix is phoenix in spanish

And when you're texting.


RE: Good job NASA
By Nacho on 10/13/2010 1:38:17 PM , Rating: 2
Fenix is the spanish name for phoenix...


RE: Good job NASA
By Tiffany Kaiser on 10/13/2010 2:21:56 PM , Rating: 4
Yes, Fenix is the Spanish name for Phoenix. You can counter reference my information with other reports, such as CNN. It is in fact called "Fenix": http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/americas/10/13/chile...


RE: Good job NASA
By Smartless on 10/13/2010 4:03:10 PM , Rating: 3
Damn and I thought it was named after the guy from Starcraft. Entaro Adun!


RE: Good job NASA
By Alexvrb on 10/13/2010 5:50:23 PM , Rating: 2
No, all of you guys have it wrong. It's a capsule that burrows deep underground for a "rescue operation"! It's obvious that it was named after Marcus Fenix.

I hope they killed a ton of Locusts!


RE: Good job NASA
By wardww on 10/13/2010 3:15:51 PM , Rating: 2
Not at all if you speak Spanish or Portuguese. Study a little next time before commenting.


Its a tube
By ZachDontScare on 10/13/2010 2:58:37 PM , Rating: 4
its a aluminum tube, attached to a pully. NASA didnt just pull off a new moon landing or anything. Lets not go overboard here.

The real heroes here are the drillers & miners who created the escape shaft, the medical teams that helped keep the miners healthy, and the miners themselves who kept it together in an incredibly dangerous situation.

NASA is way down the list. Actually, the NASA medical personell probably had more of an impact.

As far as giving credit to foreigners, if there is any it should go to the drilling companies who came in from the US & Canada with machines and experience that could drill the necessary shaft.




RE: Its a tube
By MozeeToby on 10/13/2010 3:19:12 PM , Rating: 4
Actually it's a bit more complicated since it includes a voice and video system, oxygen, food and water, an escape hatch and enough rope to lower a miner back to the refuge if the capsule were to get wedged. Most of the construction is out of plastics and wood, with relatively little metal, I suspect so that if it were to get wedged the capsule could be destroyed (after the miner left via the escape hatch obviously) to make way for a replacement.

Of course, on the other hand, the basic capsule was actually designed years ago to rescue some miners trapped in a similar situation in Spain. The designs were then modified and updated by NASA and eventually built by a company in Chile. So yeah, it's hard to say just how important, if at all, the NASA effort was. I do agree with you that the drilling, medical, and psychological support provided by American institutions was probably more important.

Most important to their success though was their own initiative. Those miners did every single thing right after the cave-in, they probably even would have escaped that day had the proper safety systems been in place, in this case, a simple god-forsaken ladder in the ventilation shafts. How ridiculous is that? 33 people nearly died and thousands, quite possibly millions of dollars spent because the mining company was too cheap to put a ladder in a secondary shaft.


RE: Its a tube
By bupkus on 10/13/2010 3:27:22 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
As far as giving credit to foreigners, if there is any it should go to the drilling companies who came in from the US & Canada with machines and experience that could drill the necessary shaft.
Hear hear!
Is there any indication of the costs incurred and how much of that the Chilean government paid to those companies? And before you ask, no, I don't believe those companies should have been expected to pay for rescue services themselves. The government of Chile, the workers' union, the company the men worked for, the individual volunteers and a national and international contribution fund should have covered the efforts of the drilling companies.


RE: Its a tube
By hr824 on 10/13/2010 4:22:30 PM , Rating: 2
Really?

"One of the trapped miners, Luis Urzua, said his team found their way to an emergency shaft but were unable to climb it because there were no ladders, despite San Esteban Primera having been ordered to install them following a death in 2007.
"We attempted to get up through the air shaft but as it didn't have a ladder we aborted," he said."

It seems that a few thousand dollars for ladders could have saved the company millions. The company is at fault here and they are the only one who should pay.


RE: Its a tube
By johnsonx on 10/13/2010 8:06:33 PM , Rating: 3
just a quick question then:

If there are other shafts that could have been used for escape if they had ladders, why did they have to spend 2 months drilling a new shaft down to the miners? That makes no sense. It would have been much quicker and cheaper to devise some means of ascent in the existing shaft. Clearly there were far greater obstacles than simple lack of ladders.


RE: Its a tube
By hr824 on 10/13/2010 11:51:56 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe because it would take longer than 2 months to install 1/2 a mile of ladders.


RE: Its a tube
By kattanna on 10/13/10, Rating: 0
RE: Its a tube
By edge929 on 10/14/2010 3:45:17 PM , Rating: 2
Don't forget UPS who flew the drilling equipment down to Chile free of charge.


Gears of War
By Flail on 10/13/2010 2:57:41 PM , Rating: 2
Before fully reading the article, I thought they named it Fenix after Marcus Fenix...

You know, what with the grindlifts.




RE: Gears of War
By FITCamaro on 10/13/2010 5:59:15 PM , Rating: 2
If it was related to that, it'd have a chainsaw on it and be more awesome.


69? Really?
By The Raven on 10/15/2010 1:02:49 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
For 69 days, 33 miners were trapped in the San Jose copper and gold mine in Chile after a rockslide closed off their exit.

I'm really joking here, but I just want to point out that I am hearing '70' everywhere I turn. I don't know if it is them saying 'almost 70 days', rounding up, or just plain 'inaccurately' reporting 70.

What ever the reasoning it is either funny that the other outlets I see are seemingly avoiding the number '69'. Or the fact that DT chooses to use it.

But regardless, I stand with you in your pursuit of accuracy.




"the situation below"
By mkrech on 10/13/2010 1:35:47 PM , Rating: 2
what's with the link to the Segway article? http://www.dailytech.com/Segway+Inc+Owner+Dies+Aft...

I guess we are past the "to soon" point.




Rescued by who?
By gmtmaster79 on 10/13/10, Rating: 0
RE: Rescued by who?
By redbone75 on 10/13/2010 4:11:38 PM , Rating: 2
It's the power of Pod that rescued those miners.


media
By Paj on 10/14/2010 5:15:20 AM , Rating: 2
In light of all the book offers, movie deals, rights and so forth, they'll probably end up becoming miner celebrities.




Good job NASA
By chinoculiao on 10/15/2010 4:06:49 PM , Rating: 2
This is all fake!!! Nasa did not designed "fenix capsule".
The design and the execution belong to the chilean Navy workshop "ASMAR"... Asmar director said that
Nasa has nothing to do to with...
Here is the proof (It`s a chilean newspaper)
http://www.lun.com/Pages/NewsDetail.aspx?dt=2010-1...




By chinoculiao on 10/15/2010 4:10:19 PM , Rating: 2
This is all fake!!! Nasa did not designed "fenix capsule".
The design and the execution belong to the chilean Navy workshop "ASMAR"... Asmar director said that
Nasa has nothing to do to with...
Here is the proof (It`s a chilean newspaper)
http://www.lun.com/Pages/NewsDetail.aspx?dt=2010-1...




FENIX CAPSULE
By hopploponeus on 10/16/2010 10:49:49 PM , Rating: 2
NOT TRUE !!!
The Capsule was developed by Chilean Navy engineers(ASMAR), with some assistance from NASA engineers.




FENIX CAPSULE
By hopploponeus on 10/16/2010 10:53:01 PM , Rating: 2
NOT TRUE !!!
The capsule was developed by Chilean navy engineers(ASMAR), with some assistance from NASA engineers.




NASA DID NOT DESIGN THE CAPSULE, THE CHILEAN NAVY DID!
By rxam on 10/13/10, Rating: 0
By YashBudini on 10/13/2010 10:21:40 PM , Rating: 1
We're from the US and we can read lower case.


Now there's plenty of room
By YashBudini on 10/13/10, Rating: 0
RE: Now there's plenty of room
By YashBudini on 10/14/2010 12:26:10 PM , Rating: 1
Yeah leave it to the edjamacated here to back up the antics of Wall St. After all they were just trying to put food on their family.


CHILEANS ARE TOUGH AS NAILS
By SUPER PATRIOTA on 10/13/10, Rating: -1
"We can't expect users to use common sense. That would eliminate the need for all sorts of legislation, committees, oversight and lawyers." -- Christopher Jennings














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