The 2010 Copiapó mining accident occurred on 5 August 2010, when the San José copper-gold mine, near Copiapó, Chile, collapsed, leaving 33 men trapped deep below ground. The miners have survived underground for 69 days, a record period of time.
The San José Mine is about 45 kilometres (28 mi) north of Copiapó, in northern Chile. The miners are trapped at approximately 700 metres (2,300 ft) deep and about 5 kilometres (3 mi), following the twists and turns of the main entrance shaft, from the mine entrance. The mine had a history of instability that had led to previous accidents, including one death.
The retrieval of the first miner, Florencio Ávalos, commenced on Tuesday, 12 October 2010 at 23:55 local time (Wednesday, 13 October 2010 at 02:55 UTC), with the rescue capsule reaching the surface 16 minutes later on 13 October 2010 at 00:11 local time (03:11 UTC). As of 14:49 local time (17:49 UTC), 18 of the 33 miners have been rescued.
What a tragedy. I am glad that the miners are still alive. As a person who is highly claustrophobic, it causes me shortness of breath just to think that they will be trapped for several months. I doubt I would be able to survive similar circumstances.