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article imageChances fade for rescuing trapped miners in Chile

By AFP     Jun 17, 2017 in World

The chances of rescuing alive two miners trapped underground in southern Chile looked slim Saturday as the mine appeared to be flooded, officials said.

A probe found water when it reached the lowest point of the mine in Chile Chico, near Aysen about 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) south of the capital, according to the head of the rescue operation, General Fernando San Cristobal.

"The mine is believed to be completely flooded," he told reporters.

The accident took place June 9 as the two miners were working with heavy machinery following flooding in the Delia II pit of the Cerro Bayo mine, operated by Canadian firm Mandalay Resources.

There has been no contact with the trapped miners.

President Michelle Bachelet promised in a Twitter message Friday that all Chileans would "work tirelessly to find our miners in Chile Chico," adding, "They are not alone."

More than 60 mine-rescue specialists have been working around-the-clock to reach the trapped miners, under what the authorities say are extremely difficult circumstances.

Some of the 60 were involved in the dramatic rescue efforts in 2010 after a mine collapse in northern Chile left 33 workers trapped 2,000 feet (600 meters) below the surface. They were successfully rescued after 69 days below ground.

The National Geology and Mining Service (Sernageomin) estimates that the trapped men are probably some 800 feet (250 meters) below the surface, in a network of galleries that stretches 6,200 feet (1,900 meters).

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