First signs trapped Idaho miner may be alive

Small cameras sent through bore holes have found an void in the rubble of the Idaho silver mine which collapsed on Friday, bringing mine rescuers the first signs that he may still be alive.

The search teams have been making slow progress in the rescue operation, since the Lucky Friday mine collapsed last Friday, however the discovery offers a sliver of hope.

"It’s what we were hoping for," Hecla Mining Co. executive Melanie Hennessey, told Reuters  noting that adding that crews began pumping compressed air through the two bore holes into the pocket of space inside the collapsed tunnel on Tuesday night local time.

The discovery of voids inside the collapsed mine have raise hopes that the trapped miner, Larry Marek, 53, may have avoided being crushed during the roof collapse.

It’s still uncertain what caused the initial collapse which saw Marek’s brother escape unharmed.

Unstable rock and fears of further cave-ins forced a suspension of excavation operations on Tuesday forcing a backup strategy with two alternate tunnels.

The accident occured as the mine operator, Hecla was expanding the mine’s depth to around 2,500 metres.

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