Rescue teams drill deep into Novoshakhtinsk mine

Rescue teams now working inside the Komsomolskaya Pravda mine have drilled a narrow hole into the Zapadnaya-Capitalnaya mine, Kirill Zhitenev, spokesman for the Rostov regional governor, told reporters here today. (The Rostov region is located in southern Russia - Ed.) In his words, a dry opening was discovered inside the Zapadnaya-Capitalnaya mine, after rescue workers used a thin drill. Apprehensions to the effect that drilling operations would be ineffective have thus proved groundless, Zhitenev added.

Rescue teams still have to cut a three-meter tunnel, Zhitenev told those present. In his words, the tunnel measures 2.5 meters wide and 1.4 meters high. Consequently, rescue workers will be able to carry out miners on stretchers, if need be.

Rescue teams will fan out in several directions, after entering the mine. Meanwhile a mine-rescue squad has already arrived at the scene.

The Zapadnaya-Capitalnaya mine was flooded in the evening of October 23, after a mineshaft was pierced. Water gushed inside from old underground shafts. 25 miners managed to escape all on their own; meanwhile 46 others were trapped beneath the ground. The mine was flooded almost completely.

33 miners phoned the dispatch-control office at about 6.30 a.m. October 25. The first three men from that group were subsequently raised to the surface at 12.30 Moscow time that same day. However, 13 men are still staying inside the damaged mine.

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