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Australia - Trapped miners free
Australia Broadcasting Corp. ^ | May 9, 2006

Posted on 05/08/2006 12:55:27 PM PDT by HAL9000

Rescuers have reached the two men trapped in the Beaconsfield Gold mine for the past 14 days.

Brant Webb, 37, was the first to be rescued at 4:47am AEST.

At 4:54am, 34-year-old Todd Russell was plucked from the cage the two men have been crouching in.

The Australian Workers Union's Bill Shorten says the men are well and are being taken to a special crib.

"These people are going to speak for themselves but as I understand, they're in remarkably good shape," he said.

The head of the Minerals Council in Tasmania, Terry Long, says the two men have been assessed by medics.

"They've been medically assessed as being category three now apparently and ... I said, 'What does that mean' because I expected them to be in very poor shape," he said.

"Apparently you and I are category four, they're category three and you're not in intensive care until category one, so they're just below the level of you and I."

The men should be out of the mine within the hour and will be taken to hospital as soon as they reach the surface.

Town ecstatic

The mood outside the mine is ecstatic.

Beaconsfield residents are gathering in a park near the mine site.

One of the residents has told Channel Nine it is a wonderful time for the town.

"We're so excited, I've been up since about three o'clock in the morning, watching the TV ... it's fantastic news, absolutely wonderful, I'm actually emotional," she said.

Mr Shorten says it is a great day.

"The rescuers here have done a fantastic job," he said.

"The families have been fantastic, and clearly these two men have been outstanding Australians.

"It's a great day."

The men's rescue comes as Beaconsfield prepares for the funeral of Larry Knight, who was killed in the rock fall that trapped the men nearly one kilometre underground.



TOPICS: Australia/New Zealand; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: australia; miner; miners; mining; rescue

1 posted on 05/08/2006 12:55:29 PM PDT by HAL9000
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To: HAL9000

Good news!


2 posted on 05/08/2006 12:58:12 PM PDT by blueminnesota
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To: HAL9000; Fair Go

That's amazing!


Ping!


3 posted on 05/08/2006 12:58:38 PM PDT by fanfan (FR is the best/biggest news gathering entity in the whole known history of the world. Thanks Jim.)
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To: HAL9000

Good on ya', Aussies!


4 posted on 05/08/2006 1:02:03 PM PDT by quark
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To: HAL9000

Good news indeed.


5 posted on 05/08/2006 1:11:02 PM PDT by Marine_Uncle (Honor must be earned)
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To: HAL9000
From what I have read, the company in this case should be congratulated for their safety procedures. Any mine I have worked in, men doing similar work would have likely been crushed.
6 posted on 05/08/2006 1:21:23 PM PDT by JimSEA (America cannot have an exit strategy from the world.)
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To: HAL9000

wonderful news!
so glad to hear they
are doing so well!


7 posted on 05/08/2006 1:22:05 PM PDT by leda (Life is always what you make it!)
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To: HAL9000

8 posted on 05/08/2006 2:06:31 PM PDT by Emmet Fitzhume (Memo to the deceivers at CNN: It is NOT "Domestic Spying." It is TERRORIST SURVEILLANCE!)
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To: HAL9000

Thank God! Especially after the horrible recent mining tragedies here and in Mexico...


9 posted on 05/08/2006 2:14:31 PM PDT by TFFKAMM
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To: HAL9000

Forget the hospital, I'd want a long hot shower first.


10 posted on 05/08/2006 2:26:03 PM PDT by mtbopfuyn (I think the border is kind of an artificial barrier - San Antonio councilwoman Patti Radle)
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To: mtbopfuyn

Apparently they had a shower while they were still in the mine.


11 posted on 05/08/2006 2:42:58 PM PDT by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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To: fanfan

This is a great story. The two guys actually walked out of the mine and came through the ordeal remarkably well. Sadly, one of their mates was killed when the mine collapsed and will be buried later today.


12 posted on 05/08/2006 5:08:25 PM PDT by Fair Go
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To: fanfan

This is a great story. The two guys actually walked out of the mine and came through the ordeal remarkably well. Sadly, one of their mates was killed when the mine collapsed and will be buried later today.


13 posted on 05/08/2006 5:09:20 PM PDT by Fair Go
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To: HAL9000

I love happy endings.

Thank You, Lord!


14 posted on 05/08/2006 5:09:33 PM PDT by Palladin ("Governor Lynn Swann."...it has a nice ring to it!)
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To: HAL9000

What a miracle.


15 posted on 05/08/2006 5:10:53 PM PDT by A CA Guy (God Bless America, God bless and keep safe our fighting men and women.)
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To: HAL9000

Praise God!


16 posted on 05/08/2006 5:10:53 PM PDT by skr (We cannot play innocents abroad in a world that is not innocent.-- Ronald Reagan)
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To: Fair Go

Really?

Only one dead? I don't mean to sound glib, but that is amazing. If this had been happening anywhere else in the world, well...

You Aussies know how to run a tight ship!

Good on you!


17 posted on 05/08/2006 5:11:31 PM PDT by fanfan (FR is the best/biggest news gathering entity in the whole known history of the world. Thanks Jim.)
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To: HAL9000

Great news!


18 posted on 05/08/2006 5:14:09 PM PDT by sarasmom (To all political staff lurkers: SECURE THE BORDERS, OR YOU'RE FIRED!)
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To: HAL9000

One of those days I'm proud to be Australian-born...

I woke up to this news this morning - actually I switched on the TV just before they walked out of the mine - and I haven't stopped smiling all day.

For two fellas who'd spent two weeks (yes, two weeks!) underground, trapped in a roughly 4x4 foot cage, they looked pretty good.

I have the news on now... apparently just half an hour ago, one of them even checked himself out of the hospital already. Fantastic!


19 posted on 05/08/2006 5:45:50 PM PDT by FriendDownUnder (A Southern Franchisee of the War on Terror)
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To: fanfan

As I recall, about 14 others managed to escape when the mine first collapsed. Mining is a dangerous business anywhere in the world. However, coal mining has to be the most dangerous.


20 posted on 05/08/2006 6:12:40 PM PDT by Fair Go
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To: onyx; Petronski; martin_fierro; mainepatsfan
"Rescuers have reached the two men trapped in the Beaconsfield Gold mine for the past 14 days" ............... ping!

Time for a very warm and long bath.

;-)

21 posted on 05/08/2006 6:52:09 PM PDT by beyond the sea ("If you see strange men lurking about in groups of three - especially in North Carolina, RUN!)
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To: beyond the sea


Fantastic!


22 posted on 05/08/2006 6:54:49 PM PDT by onyx (They're ILLEGAL! --- tough, FACTS DON'T MATTER.)
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To: HAL9000
Truly beautiful.

Wonderful news..............

23 posted on 05/08/2006 7:11:19 PM PDT by beyond the sea ("If you see strange men lurking about in groups of three - especially in North Carolina, RUN!)
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Comment #24 Removed by Moderator

To: HAL9000; blueminnesota; fanfan; onyx; quark; RightWhale; Dane; unix; MadelineZapeezda; ...
Australia - Trapped miners free

A little more:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060509/ap_on_re_au_an/australia_trapped_miners_49

BEACONSFIELD, Australia - Two Australian miners who survived for two weeks in a kennel-size cage trapped 3,000 feet underground walked out of the Beaconsfield Gold Mine early Tuesday and punched the air, freed by rescue crews drilling round-the-clock by hand.

Hundreds of well-wishers gathered at the mine gates erupted in cheers when Brant Webb, 37, and Todd Russell, 34, emerged, their head torches glowing in the pre-dawn light.

The miners bear-hugged family and friends before clambering into two ambulances, still laughing and joking. Before going, they removed their identity tags from the wall outside the elevator — a standard safety measure carried out by all miners when they finish a shift.

They also handed out small cards that read: "The Great Escape. To all who have helped and supported us and our families, we cannot wait to shake your hand and (buy) you a Sustagen," referring to a nutrition drink the pair sipped during their ordeal. "Thanks is not enough."

Their rescue ends a drama that riveted the nation. Television networks cut live to the news that the men were saved. A fire engine drove with its siren wailing through Beaconsfield, a town in the southern state of Tasmania. A church bell not used since the end of World War II rang out in celebration.

Russell discharged himself from the hospital late Tuesday morning while Webb stuck around to enjoy a meal of steak and fries. Geoff Lyons, a spokesman for Launceston General Hospital, said the miners were "As fine as you could be after being locked underground in a meter square for a fortnight."

Webb and Russell were buried after a small earthquake April 25 trapped the safety cage they were working in under tons of rock. Miner Larry Knight, 44, was killed, and Tuesday's rescue came hours before Knight's family planned to hold his funeral.

Teams of specialist miners bored through more than 45 feet of rock over the past week with a giant drilling machine to reach the men. But cutting the final sections of the escape tunnel was slow and difficult, as the men used hand tools to avoid causing a cave-in.

For 300 hours, the two miners had huddled in the 4-foot-tall cage, too short to stand up in, until rescuers broke through the last crust of rock, five times harder than concrete, to reach them.

That last drilling took longer than expected, frustrating residents of the close-knit community waiting for hours above ground at the mine gate. Rescuers could only work one at a time on their backs in the cramped tunnel, wielding hand-held pneumatic drills, diamond-tipped chain saws and jackhammers as heavy as 88 pounds.

But the rest of the crust was compacted debris, easier to cut through. Starting at 4:47 a.m., the men crept one at a time out the cage and into the narrow escape tunnel. Rescuers carried them through the tunnel on stretchers. A medical check of the men, still underground, found them in good health — able to stand on the elevator carrying them to the surface and to walk out of the mine.

The two ambulances drove the men slowly out the mine gates, with the doors open so crowds could see the two men who have become national heroes. Hundreds of townsfolk lined the streets, whooping, clapping and cheering as the vehicles passed en route to the hospital.

"The great escape is over," union official Bill Shorten told Nine Network television. "A giant rock of pressure has been taken off these families."

Seventeen men were working the night shift when the magnitude 2.1 quake sent tremors through the century-old mine. Fourteen men made it safely to the surface. But Webb, Russell and Knight had been working deep in the belly of the mine repairing a tunnel.

Webb and Russell survived because a huge slab of rock landed on their safety cage, forming a roof that kept them from being crushed. For five days they lived on a single cereal bar and water they licked from rocks, until rescue crews with thermal heat sensors detected them April 30.

The rescue team forced a narrow pipe through a hole drilled through the rock and pushed through supplies including water, vitamins and fresh clothing.

Comforts such as iPods, an inflatable mattress, egg and chicken sandwiches and even ice pops followed.

Throughout the rescue, the good spirits of the miners, both married with three children, amazed those struggling to reach them.

One man asked for a newspaper so he could start scanning the classifieds for another job. Another said that once freed, he wanted the ambulance to stop at McDonald's on the way to the hospital.

The families said neither they nor the miners planned to speak to the media Tuesday about their ordeal. TV networks and newspapers were rumored to have paid substantial sums for exclusive rights to interview the men and their relatives once they were rescued.

Knight's family planned to hold his funeral Tuesday in the nearby town of Launceston. They had delayed the service, hoping the trapped miners would be able to attend.

The tense drama recalled the rescue in 2002 of nine miners from the Quecreek Mine in Pennsylvania after being trapped for 77 hours underground — less than a quarter as long as the Australian miners spent awaiting rescue.

Australia has a strong mine safety record compared with many other countries. After the deaths of 16 West Virginia coal miners earlier this year, U.S. labor leaders and experts held up Australia as a possible role model.

25 posted on 05/08/2006 7:31:52 PM PDT by beyond the sea ("If you see strange men lurking about in groups of three - especially in North Carolina, RUN!)
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To: beyond the sea

I saw the trapped miners walk out of the mine to safety and freedom today on the news. It was great to see.

They should have had Joe Sbaffoni, the head of PA Deep Mine Safety there. That ham is the one who actually caused the Quecreek mining disaster where 18 miners were almost killed and 9 miners were trapped underground for days and almost died of hypothermia.

Joe got a lot of facetime on the news out of that and became bureau director of deep mine safety because of it.

I know the details, I used to work at deep mine saftety. The engineer was force by Sbaffoni to sign the permit for Quecreek although he knew it was unsafe.

The "hero" of Quecreek is the person who caused the disaster.


26 posted on 05/08/2006 7:37:08 PM PDT by Supernatural (Its getting dark, but its not there yet.)
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To: Supernatural

I did not know that. He did get a lot of "face time".


27 posted on 05/08/2006 7:39:10 PM PDT by beyond the sea ("If you see strange men lurking about in groups of three - especially in North Carolina, RUN!)
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To: beyond the sea

The engineer himself told me that he told Sbaffoni that test holes needed to be drilled before that permit was issued because there was another mine in close proximity and they didn't know exactly where it was.

Sbaffoni said "They have waited long enough. Sign the permit".

The engineer said, "I won't sign the permit unless you order me to. It is too dangerous".

Sbaffoni said, "I'm ordering you to sign the permit".

So the engineer signed it.

The rest is history.

I have a lawsuit pending against the PA DEP and Deep Mine Safety. Their recklessness is part of the suit.

They better hope I never get to court with it.


28 posted on 05/08/2006 7:51:03 PM PDT by Supernatural (Its getting dark, but its not there yet.)
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To: HAL9000

Good job. I had to laugh when I read that they walked over and punched out. Some manager is going to have some serious overtime to explain:')


29 posted on 05/08/2006 8:11:16 PM PDT by CindyDawg
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To: HAL9000
Praise the Lord! Fantastic news.

My sympathies to the family of the one fallen miner.

30 posted on 05/08/2006 8:34:22 PM PDT by Ciexyz (Let us always remember, the Lord is in control.)
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