Between hoses and poles: the reasons that frustrated the first entry of rescuers to the Sabinas mine



After the descent, the diving team determined that there are obstacles such as wood and poles inside the well.  (Twitter: @CNPC_MX)
After the descent, the diving team determined that there are obstacles such as wood and poles inside the well. (Twitter: @CNPC_MX)

On Wednesday, August 10, 2020, work continued in the shafts to safeguard the miners trapped in Sabinas. At 5:56 p.m. finally, the immersion of a diving team from the Ministry of National Defense was carried out in Well 3who made a thorough inspection and upon returning to the surface determined that there are obstacles inside the well that prevent progress. In this sense, the maneuvers for the removal of the obstructions began during the next few hours.

For his part, the President of the Mexican Republic, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, spoke about the progress of the search and rescue of the miners.

“Ms. Laura Velázquez of Civil Protection, who since the day of the unfortunate accident, has also been there with the participation of the Secretary of Defense, the Plan DN III was launched. The entire government has been working, all agencies have been helping and the same engineers, company miners, volunteers. mine workers, a camp was set up and they have been working in a coordinated manner day and night without stopping”, explained the president.

The head of the National Civil Protection Coordination in the state reported during her speech at the morning conference on August 11, that so far, They have been working uninterrupted for 183 hours and at no time have rescue efforts been suspended..

Screenshot: Twitter/@CNPC_MX
Screenshot: Twitter/@CNPC_MX

“We work 24 hours a day and our work can be testified by the families of our miners, the work we do here is continuous and very well coordinated. There are two coordination meetings to determine strategies for pumping, search and rescue actions. Every hour the Mimosa company keeps us informed and the explosive levels are being permanently monitored”, expressed Laura Velázquez.

Likewise, Civil Protection explained that it is a job to be carried out with great care, since they have to protect the relatives of the miners at all times and the rescuers themselves because any false move could have complications and serious consequences. “We are not going to leave here until we rescue our 10 miners who are in the Pinabeto mine. Work has never been suspended and there is no risk of collapse”, he reiterated.

According to Civil Protection, the initial strategy was to lower the water levels in the mine to be able to mobilize for the rescue, since the levels of the liquid they were above 30 meters on August 3. Behind the implementation of different pumps and with the maximum pressure exerted in the process, they managed to reduce them in an extraordinary way below 9 meters. So far, Civil Protection confirmed that from last August 3 to August 11, the water extraction is greater than 148 thousand square meters and the volume is 18, 425 square meters.

It should be remembered that the unified command and technical staff have placed special emphasis on how vital it is to lower the water levels, so that rescuers can enter and divers can move safely to accurately indicate everything that can be found below in leaf.

The head of the Ministry of National Defense, Luis Cresencio Sandoval notified that despite the fact that the water conditions were not conducive to descending into Well 3rescue actions were carried out with divers. There were four descents in which an element of the Army and one of the volunteer miners participated., between the two they sought precisely to detect the conditions of that well, which turns out to be obstructed. They proceeded to open it so that the other divers could enter to work, removed a total of 13 wooden poles and 15 meters of hose.

SABINAS, COAHUILA, AUGUST 08, 2022.- The discovery of a helmet was confirmed during the immersion of the diving equipment that lasted approximately two hours.  PHOTO: ALEJANDRO RODRÍGUEZ/CUARTOSCURO.COM
SABINAS, COAHUILA, AUGUST 08, 2022.- The discovery of a helmet was confirmed during the immersion of the diving equipment that lasted approximately two hours. PHOTO: ALEJANDRO RODRÍGUEZ/CUARTOSCURO.COM

“They found that there is no room to move forward, there are still obstacles such as wood and poles. The lights they used do not give them enough visibility to identify what stands in their way down the well.. The work is constant, these activities will continue, even without reaching the level that is considered appropriate to operate. In any case, the rescuers and divers are going to continue making attempts to carry out the activity that is intended”, confirmed the Secretary of National Defense.

On the other hand, hours after the first descent to Well 3, through Laura Velázquez Alzúa, head of the National Civil Protection Coordination in the state, it was also confirmed that they found a helmet during the dive that lasted approximately two hours.

Likewise, it was announced that the second stage for the protection of the miners trapped in Sabinas, will be an exploration of the existing security conditions by means of divers. Y for the third stage is the entrance of the rescuers to carry out the actions of search and location of the minersas well as the extraction of rubble and, where appropriate, the reinforcement of the stability of the mine.

Located some 370 meters from the Conchas Norte mine, the three shafts in which the workers are trapped are are flooded. Hence, the tasks are focused on extracting water and not allowing it to enter the area. With an approximate depth of 60 meters, the tunnels were flooded just over half of it (and going down).

Among the total assets, operates a SEDENA elite group specialized in rescue operations, which has been active in other disasters in the country, such as the earthquake that occurred on September 19, 2017. It is the Immediate Response Team to emergencies or Disasters (ERIED).

The ERIED it’s a Specialized Team integrated por military elements who volunteer to serve in emergency situations. The staff receives rigorous training to fight any type of fire, to rescue people trapped in collapsed structures, as well as caving.

For its part, this Immediate Response team operates within the Disaster Support Force (FACD), which was implemented in the year 2000 as part of the Plan DN-III-E either “Aid Plan for the Civilian Population”. It receives its name from having been integrated into annex “E” of the Third Edition of the National Defense Master Plan (DN-III), which was in force at its creation, in 1965.

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