The 33 trapped Chilean miners are now supported by a staff of about 300 above ground that work in shifts to provide them with everything from food to entertainment.
The miners have divided into three 11 men teams that have schedules to follow. Food, water, clothing … and everything else gets raised and lowered to them through containers that can pass through a small drill hole that connects them to the surface. Everything has to be tightly bundled to fit into the containers.
A 3 man team of miners is permanently stationed at the drill hole to unpack things as they arrive and to send back up whatever needs to be.
Their underground home for at least the next few weeks has now got a high degree of comfort compared to what it was after the collapse when they were cut off from the surface and lived mainly in the dark and dust for 17 days.
They now have a huge team supporting them above ground consisting of cooks, drilling engineers, communications experts, doctors, psychologists, launderers, and of course family members.
They have cots to sleep on in three shifts, breakfast, dinner, and supper is passed down to them. A container from the surface takes about 15 minutes to pass through the drill hole. Air and water is piped down to them through another drill hole.
Cables provide a telephone hook-up and even cable TV. They watch TV about 13 hours a day but officials are careful about what they watch so as not to affect the psychology of survival that’s so important to them. The teams are brought together at meal time to foster the sense of unity.
Plans are slowly being put in place about how to rescue the men when a large bore hole is expected to be completed sometime in November. A one man capsule will be used to pull each miner up to the surface.