SANTIAGO – The two miners trapped in a small coal mine in southern Chile were rescued and are in good condition, officials said Wednesday.
Richard Perez Jara, 21, and Reinaldo Brevis Jaque, 39, spent a total of 22 hours trapped about 150 meters (492 feet) underground at the Buen Retiro mine outside Coronel, a city about 540 kilometers (335 miles) from Santiago.
The miners were trapped in a cave-in around 4:00 a.m. on Tuesday, officials said.
The two men were rescued at around 2:15 a.m. Wednesday, Biobio region Gov. Victor Lobos said.
The two miners were in good condition, but they were taken to San Jose Hospital in Coronel for a check-up.
Perez Jara and Brevis Jaque were dehydrated but in otherwise good health, Dr. Jorge Fierro said.
“Good, we’re good, the temperature was normal,” Perez Jara said after leaving the mine.
The rescue operation was led by the miners’ co-workers, who were forced to make their way slowly through a 60 cm x 60 cm (1.9-foot by 1.9-foot) tunnel to reach the men, Lobos said.
Arauco province, located in Biobio, lived mainly off the coal industry for more than 150 years, but high production costs at deep mines led to the closings of many mining operations in the early 1990s.
Many small and mid-sized mines still operate in the area, with workers often toiling in unsafe conditions. EFE