In 2010, Terence Foreback, the New Mexico state mine inspector, is quoted to have said that “while there are many inherent risks involved in mining, it is the control of those risks that determines safety”. However, when mining accidents occur, survivors live to tell their unforgettable stories…
1. CopiapÃ³ mining accident
2. Sago mine survivor
Randal McCloy was the only survivor of the Sago mine accident, in West Virginia (USA). He survived while 12 other men died, after an explosion that trapped the men in the pit, making them breathe poisoned air. The doctors cannot explain how he survived and still call him a miracle.
3. Beaconsfield mine collapse
A collapse of a section of the Beaconsfield gold mine in 2006 trapped three miners and triggered one of the biggest rescues in Australia’s mining history. The operation lasted for two weeks, but the three victims of the accident were rescued.
4. Cabeza de Negro mine accident
Nine workers were trapped inside an abandoned mine, located in southern Peru, for four days before they were rescued. The men were stuck about 656 feet below ground, but managed to receive oxygen and liquids through a giant hose that was in place before the accident.
5. Chile trapped miner Torres Lopez
A Chilean miner was rescued back in March of 2013 after spending 52 hours trapped underground, in a collapsed mine. Mario Torres Lopez had to be saved from the Victoria pit, in the northern Atacama region.
6. Ballarat gold mine collapse
The collapse of Ballarat mine, in central Victoria (Australia), trapped 27 workers in 2007. The workers were underground for several hours before being lifted out through a ventilation shaft. Luckily, none of them was injured.
7. Saskatchewan mine on fire
A group of Saskatchewan miners spent 17 hours trapped underground due to a fire, which started in PotashCorp’s Rocanville mine, in Canada, and filled the tunnels with dark smoke. Rescuers were able to get nine miners out immediately, but 20 other workers were forced to gather in four refuge stations about one kilometre below the surface. They waited for 17 until rescue.
8. Halemba mine collapse
A Polish coal miner got trapped more than a kilometre underground in Halemba mine, in Ruda Slaska, for 111 hours. The victim was brought to the surface alive and well, only a bit dehydrated, after rescuers freed him from under tons of rubble.
9. Furuixiang coal mine
The Furuixiang coal mine flood killed about 18 miners in 2012, but other four managed to survive. A total of 22 miners was working underground, in the Chinese mine, when the accident happened: six miners managed to escape and four of them were saved.
10. Dahlbusch colliery rescue
Back to the beginning… The “Fenix 2” escape capsule which helped bring the Chilean miners on number one back to the surface is based on a German invention: the Dahlbusch Bomb was created within a few days by engineers in May of 1955, when a solution was needed to save three miners trapped in the Dahlbusch colliery, in Germany.