Accident at the San Jose mine

Article

October 25, 2021

San Jose mine accident - man-made accident at the San Jose mine, near Copiapo, Chile on August 5, 2010, where a rock collapse occurred, as a result of which 33 miners were walled up at a depth of about 700 m and about 5 km from the entrance to the mine . As a result of the accident, people had to stay underground for a record 69 days.

Course of events

San Jose Mine is located about 45 kilometers north of the city of Copiapo, in the province of the same name in northern Chile. The mine began operation in 1889, where copper and gold were mined. In recent years, accidents at the mine have resulted in at least three deaths. From 2004 to 2010, the company that owns the mine was fined 42 for failing to comply with safety requirements. There are a total of 884 mines in the Atacama Desert, with only three inspectors. The collapse occurred on August 5, 2010 at 2 pm local time, according to a report by the mine's owner, the mining company Empresa Minera San Esteban. Rescue attempts began on August 6 under the leadership of Chilean Minister of Labor and Social Security Lawrence Holborn, Chile's Mining Department and the SERNAGEOMIN Directorate (National Geological Survey). At first, rescuers tried to get inside the ventilation shafts, but they were also overwhelmed. Attempts to clear the debris with heavy machinery caused new landslides, so we had to change tactics and drill vertical wells in the hope of finding survivors. The search was successful on August 22 - rescuers raised a storm with a note from the miners. It was read personally by Chilean President Sebastian Pinera: "We feel good and are in storage, we are 33." To this day, miners have kept a frugal diet: a spoonful of tuna, half a cookie and half a glass of milk every 48 hours. The underground temperature was 33 degrees Celsius, humidity 90 percent. Rescuers had to solve a difficult problem, because rescue operations to remove the miners from such a great depth were not carried out. The situation was complicated by the fact that the miners did not receive special training to be in prolonged isolation, which is, for example, astronauts. A rescue plan was developed, which should take several months (waiting

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