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Last updated on August 9th, 2017 at 04:33 pm
Because of the changes to the rescue plan, the raise borer will now have to drill 16 metres of rock, instead of 12 metres. The raise borer, a five-tonne mining machine, will carve a one-metre-diameter tunnel.
A pilot hole into the rock wall was finished about midday, after 17 hours’ drilling. Rescuers installed the 1.7-tonne raise borer head into position yesterday afternoon, in preparation for the drilling that began last night.
Parents of the two miners will be lowered into the mineshaft today to boost the pairs’ spirits:
John and Crista Webb will join Noel and Kaye Russell at the Beaconsfield Gold Mine before descending 1km into the mine for a briefing on the condition of the men.
“They want to take us down so we’re a bit closer to them. We all want to be as close as possible to our boys and we hope to make direct contact,” John Webb told News Ltd newspapers.
Mine manager Michael Gill has already made the descent:
Still clad in his underground gear, Mr Gill told journalists that Todd Russell and Brant Webb had been asleep when he’d descended nearly a kilometre underground to the spot where the communication tunnel taking survival rations to the men was set up.
The logistics of the rescue are extraordinary.