Chile Mine Rescue
October 12, 2010 by staff
He spent the next 33 days on her feet, using a drill that has finally provided a way out Saturday for 33 miners trapped.
“You must feel through your feet that the drilling is done, it is a vibration you so you know what happens,” said Hart, a contractor in Denver, Colorado.
A taciturn man muscular, with callused hands and a face tanned, Hart rock books normally oil or water.
He is used to extreme conditions while he works the levers that drive hydraulic hammer drills.
But it was something different – 33 lives were depending on him.
“I was nervous today,” said Hart, 40.
He joked that he thought was his heart stop when he felt an unexplained “pop” just before the drill broke through in a measuring chamber basement. “I did not want something to go wrong.”
A few hours after mine gold and copper collapsed Aug. 5, the Government of Chile has made mine owners were ill-equipped to cope with the rescue and asked the state mining company Codelco to take the lead.
Codelco turned Geotec Boyles Bros., a US-Chile, to manage the “Plan B” tree to escape, one of three drilling operations that run simultaneously to reach the miners.
Geotec director of operations James Stefanic said he quickly assembled “a team of top-line” of the drillers who are familiar with the main equipment, including engineering firms in Pennsylvania two – Schramm Inc., which makes exercise T130, and the Rock Center Inc., which makes drills.
Hart was called from Afghanistan, “simply because he is the best” for drilling larger holes with pieces of the T130 drilling large diameter Stefanic said.
Standing in front of the levers, meters and pressure gauges on the control panel of T130, the Hart and the rest of the team face many challenges in the drilling of wells. At one point, the drill hit a metal support beam in the mine poorly mapped, breaking his hammer. Fresh material should be made in the United States and progress was delayed for several days as powerful magnets were cut out the pieces.
Veins to mine gold and copper ran in quartzite with a high level of silica abrasive rock so hard that he took all their skills to keep the hammer drill of curves in unwanted directions. “It was horrible,” said president of the Rock Center Brandon Fisher, exhausted after barely sleeping for the effort.
Fisher, Stefanic and Hart called the most difficult hole they never drilled, because life at stake
“If you’re drilling for oil and you lose the hole, it’s different. This time, there are people underneath,” said Stefanic.
“We ruined some bits worked through problems as a team, and broke,” Hart said. “I am very happy now.”
Parents of children crowded around Hart on Saturday, hugs and posing for photos with him as he descended from the rescue operation in the tent camp where families were anxiously monitoring his work.
“He became the hero of the day,” said Dayana Olivares, whose friend Carlos Bugueño is one of the miners trapped below.
Champagne sprayed all around him after Hart guided the drilling in the juvenile division. He fired the last shot before so that the bit extended a little over two feet (65 centimeters) above the ceiling. Less experienced hands could have pierced with too much power, endangering minors and even blockage of the tree with broken equipment.
“We’ve got the job,” Hart said simply.
Hart has a home in Denver, but works for long periods abroad as a contractor for Layne Christensen Company based in Mission Woods, Kansas.
“We spend most of our time away from our families, but we do not have what-ifs that they were there,” he said of minors. “Now they have a way out.”
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