Sunday, May 07, 2006

Attempts to rescue Australian mine workers snag

Rescue workers have nearly reached two Australian miners trapped for two weeks but ran into problems Sunday.

The jackhammers used to dig threw a collapsed tunnel were unable to penetrate the last rock barrier separating the miners from rescuers.

Officials said the rock was up to five times harder than concrete and they had resorted to "low-shock blasting."

The miners were able to survive the tunnel collapse in a steel cage and have been surviving by consuming water and food through a PVC pipe that was snaked down to the men last Monday. Until then they drank water dripping from rocks and shared a snack bar.

The Australian nation has been captivated by the fortitude and spirit of the miners whose communications with rescuers have been broadcast by the media.

Rescuers face unexpected problems in reaching Australian miners

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