(Edited from AP, San Jose Mine) The effort to save 33 men trapped deep in a Chilean mine is an unprecedented challenge, mining safety experts said Tuesday. It means months of drilling, and then a harrowing three-hour trip in a cage up a narrow hole carved through solid rock.

“They’re facing the most unusual rescue that has ever been dealt with,” said Dave Feickert, director of KiaOra, a mine safety consulting firm in New Zealand that has worked to improve China’s dangerous mines.

(Edited from AP, San Jose Mine) The effort to save 33 men trapped deep in a Chilean mine is an unprecedented challenge, mining safety experts said Tuesday. It means months of drilling, and then a harrowing three-hour trip in a cage up a narrow hole carved through solid rock.

“They’re facing the most unusual rescue that has ever been dealt with,” said Dave Feickert, director of KiaOra, a mine safety consulting firm in New Zealand that has worked to improve China’s dangerous mines.

Chilean officials said the miners will have to remove upward of 3,000 tons of rock as it falls into the area where they are trapped. There is little danger to the men – the area includes a shelter and about 500 meters (yards) of a shaft outside that. But as the rock starts to fall a month from now, the men will work in nonstop shifts to remove it with wheelbarrows and industrial sweepers.

“The thing that concerns me is welfare of workers, their mental state. That will be real tough,” said Gryska. Late Tuesday, the government released another video of the miners that shows them smiling, shaved and wearing red T-shirts. The short video is a stark contrast to previous videos that pictured the men shirtless and more subdued, with some getting emotional while recording a message for loved ones.

If the miners remain healthy during their long period underground and if the drilling goes as planned, they will then face the ordeal of being stuffed into a tubular, metal cage for three hours as they are slowly pulled up.

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