Drills moving closer to trapped Chilean miners

South African construction giant Murray and Roberts on Tuesday said its bid to rescue 33 miners trapped...

Rescuers prepare to take out a rocket-shaped metal tube used to send supplies to the trapped miners in Chile. Picture: AFP.

South African construction giant Murray and Roberts on Tuesday said its bid to rescue 33 miners trapped underground in <?xml:namespace prefix="st1" ns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags"?><country-region w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Chile</country-region> is progressing well and its drill is currently at a depth of 475 metres.<?xml:namespace prefix="o" ns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office"?>

The miners are stuck nearly 700 metres underground and it could take until Christmas to dig them out.

Two other drills are also boring their way down to the men. One is 193 metres down, while the other is at only 80 metres below the surface.

Murray and Roberts’ Ed Jardim said, “We are pretty happy with our progress to date and we’re confident that we will stay on programme. We were the first drill on site and other drills are trying to provide alternative solutions for us and we’re confident that we’re going to make it happen.”

The trapped men are now following a disciplined routine that psychiatrists said will give them no alternative but to survive.

They eat, shower, sleep, work and relax on a regular schedule.