Tasmanian miners rescued

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Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Location of Beaconsfield

The two miners who had been trapped almost one kilometer beneath the surface in Beaconsfield, Tasmania in a collapsed gold mine for 14 days have now been rescued.

The men, Brant Webb and Todd Russell, were well enough to walk out from the lift onto the surface and threw their arms up in exultation. They then walked to a board and removed their location tags to indicate that they were no longer underground at approximately 5:59 a.m. AEST before embracing family and friends and making their way to the waiting ambulances. The vehicles slowly made their way through the crowds with a police escort and the miners waved to the crowds through the open rear doors. They will undergo medical supervision at Launceston Hospital for a period of time before being confirmed well enough to return home.

The last stages of the rescue, cutting the final sections of the escape tunnel had proceeded very slowly because very hard rock was encountered and work had to proceed gently to minimize the chances of further rock collapses.

The escape tunnel was completed at 4:47 a.m. AEST and it took another hour for the men to be transported to the surface via a "crib room" at "Level 375" (375 metres underground) where they were medically examined and were also able to shower.

A bell at Beaconsfield's Uniting Church pealed just after 5 a.m. AEST to celebrate the rescue, and an air raid siren was sounded. This was the first time the church bell had been rung since the end of World War II. A local fire engine drove through Beaconsfield's streets sounding the siren to wake residents for the good news.

A funeral will be held later today for a third miner, Larry Knight, who was killed in the collapse that trapped the miners on April 26.

Sources

Wikipedia Learn more about Beaconsfield mine collapse on Wikipedia.


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