A West Australian drilling expert has been called in to help with the rescue of 33 miners trapped 700 metres underground in Chile.
Kelvin Brown, from Australian drilling company Imdex, has been called in as “a consultant to assist in the rescue efforts,” an Imdex spokesperson told Australian Mining.
When Brown first arrived on site the mood was quite depressed, however since the breakthrough in finding 33 miners alive, it has been very positive, the spokesperson said.
Originally, the miners were not expected to be found alive, however rescuers were shocked when they pulled a drill bit out of a hole drilled into a refuge chamber only to find notes stuck on the end of it with insulation tape, Brown told the ABC.
"The guys underground quickly got pen and paper and hurriedly wrote several notes, and they used insulation tape and they taped it onto…. a hammer that was raised to the surface. That was very ecstatic and no-one was expecting that," he said.
However, the hardness of the rock strata within the area is hampering rescue efforts, meaning that a full rescue may take a number of months.
Current forecasts predict it may take several months.
Currently a narrow hole has been drilled to pass the miners food, water and importantly medical supplies.
Officials made contact with the trapped miners on Monday; nearly two weeks after the Chileans were caught underground.