Chile mine: Rescue day operation

CLICKABLE What happened after the miners were brought to the surface?

step_1 step_2 step_3 step_4 step_5_ step_6 over view of mine step_1 step_2 step_3 step_4 step_5 step_6

Preparation

The rescue team included 10 employees of Chile's National Copper Corporation, Codelco, two local mine rescue experts, and three Chilean Navy paramedics.

The capsule was tested several times before Codelco's Manuel Gonzalez was lowered into the mine.

He was supposed to return and report on the condition of the shaft, before handing over to a paramedic. However, miner Florencio Avalos got into the capsule and was hauled up.

Other rescuers were sent down as miners came up. Those with the most technical know-how were first, then the weakest, and then the strongest.

Rescue

The miners were kitted out with made-to-measure, lightweight, waterproof clothing and sunglasses for the rescue. They also wore a biometric belt to measure their vital signs as they were lifted to the surface.

They wore wear a small oxygen mask and had headphones and a microphone giving them constant contact with rescuers at the surface.

If the capsule had got stuck, the men would have been able to release a series of levers inside and be winched back to the bottom of the mine.

Doctors did not want the men sedated during the ascent, so they could communicate with the rescue team.

Triage area

At the surface, the miners were met by a couple of relatives or close friends before being made to lie on a stretcher to take them to an ambulance which ferried them to the triage centre.

There, a doctor checked them for any serious medical conditions.

Helicopters were on standby to airlift emergency cases immediately to the nearest hospital in Copiapo.

From the triage area, the men were taken to the field hospital or stabilisation area.

Field hospital

The miners had more checks and could meet up with their families again at the field hospital, or stabilisation area.

The most common ailment among the miners was skin problems. But doctors were also on hand to administer Vitamin D, to counter the effects of months without sunlight, and should it be needed, a drip.

They also carried out dental checks. Here, the miners could also get psychological counselling.

Thirty four containers made up the triage area, field hospital and rest area.

Family reunion

After a thorough check, the men could proceed to the rest area, with chairs and tables, where they were reunited with their closest family members.

Numbers were limited to just a few family members per miner.

Psychologist Dr James Thompson, from University College London, says families can be psychologically demanding.

He says people who have been in confinement for long periods tend to find it easier to meet a few close people rather than everyone at once.

Hospital

From the family area, the miners were airlifted by helicopter to a military facility in Copiapo, near the regional hospital.

All but a few of the men were found to be in very good health, officials said. Health Minister Jaime Manalich said many had been unable to sleep, wanted to talk with families and were anxious.

One was treated for pneumonia, and two needed dental work. Two were also being treated for silicosis, an incurable miners' ailment in which lungs damaged from dust make breathing difficult.

Chile has promised to offer support for at least six months - until they can be sure each man has readjusted.

Preparation

The rescue team included 10 employees of Chile's National Copper Corporation, Codelco, two local mine rescue experts, and three Chilean Navy paramedics.

The capsule was tested several times before Codelco's Manuel Gonzalez was lowered into the mine.

He was supposed to return and report on the condition of the shaft, before handing over to a paramedic. However, miner Florencio Avalos got into the capsule and was hauled up.

Other rescuers were sent down as miners came up. Those with the most technical know-how were first, then the weakest, and then the strongest.

Rescue

The miners were kitted out with made-to-measure, lightweight, waterproof clothing and sunglasses for the rescue. They also wore a biometric belt to measure their vital signs as they were lifted to the surface.

They wore wear a small oxygen mask and had headphones and a microphone giving them constant contact with rescuers at the surface.

If the capsule had got stuck, the men would have been able to release a series of levers inside and be winched back to the bottom of the mine.

Doctors did not want the men sedated during the ascent, so they could communicate with the rescue team.

Triage area

At the surface, the miners were met by a couple of relatives or close friends before being made to lie on a stretcher to take them to an ambulance which ferried them to the triage centre.

There, a doctor checked them for any serious medical conditions.

Helicopters were on standby to airlift emergency cases immediately to the nearest hospital in Copiapo.

From the triage area, the men were taken to the field hospital or stabilisation area.

Field hospital

The miners had more checks and could meet up with their families again at the field hospital, or stabilisation area.

The most common ailment among the miners was skin problems. But doctors were also on hand to administer Vitamin D, to counter the effects of months without sunlight, and should it be needed, a drip.

They also carried out dental checks. Here, the miners could also get psychological counselling.

Thirty four containers made up the triage area, field hospital and rest area.

Family reunion

After a thorough check, the men could proceed to the rest area, with chairs and tables, where they were reunited with their closest family members.

Numbers were limited to just a few family members per miner.

Psychologist Dr James Thompson, from University College London, says families can be psychologically demanding.

He says people who have been in confinement for long periods tend to find it easier to meet a few close people rather than everyone at once.

Hospital

From the family area, the miners were airlifted by helicopter to a military facility in Copiapo, near the regional hospital.

All but a few of the men were found to be in very good health, officials said. Health Minister Jaime Manalich said many had been unable to sleep, wanted to talk with families and were anxious.

One was treated for pneumonia, and two needed dental work. Two were also being treated for silicosis, an incurable miners' ailment in which lungs damaged from dust make breathing difficult.

Chile has promised to offer support for at least six months - until they can be sure each man has readjusted.

This image was taken on 6 October before the rescue capsule winch and many of the containers had been moved into place.

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