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Emergencies & Rescue

Mining rescue team finds body of boy in borehole

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Mines rescue team uses a cage to access the parallel shaft. Image Instagram

UPDATE: The Spanish mining rescue team has found the body of a boy in the borehole missing since January 13.

In one of the most challenging mining rescue team efforts in recent times, the team from Brigada Salvamento Minero Hunosa faced a challenging task to reach the boy which involved drilling a parallel shaft into complex strata then tunnelling 3-4 metres through rock by hand and using low impact explosives to reach the child. The incident presented significant geotechnical issues.

See our previous story ‘Mines rescue team mobilised to rescue boy from a borehole

Alfonso Rodriguez Gomez de Celis, the central government representative in the region of Andalusia said ‘At approximately 1130 am Saturday, the rescue teams reached the area of the borehole where they were looking for Julen and they found the lifeless body of the little one”

The mines rescue plan

A camera was initially used to inspect the hole but the mines rescue team discovered an earth plug around the 63-metre mark. The plug was believed to have been created from sediment dislodged as the boy fell down the hole.

Mining rescue team reviews borehole footage
Mines rescue team review footage from borehole camera. Image Via Instagram: gomezdcelis

The rescue team initially removed soil to a depth of 23 metres from an area adjacent to the borehole then sunk and lined a 63-metre parallel shaft capable of supporting a 1.05-metre diameter torpedo man tube similar to the type used in the famous Chilean Copiapó  mines rescue. The shaft is approximately 4 metres from the original borehole.

The rescue site in the Spanish countryside. Image FB

The torpedo tube was fabricated specifically for the mines rescue team by a local fabricator company in a nearby town. It measures 1.05 meters across and is 2.5 meters high. It weighs around 300 kilos and it will be raised and lowered remotely by a crane.

The next component of the rescue involved the mines rescue team using hand tunnelling equipment (jackhammers and low impact explosives) to build a 1 x 1.2 m tunnel through around 3 -4 metres of rock to the location where the boy was trapped.

The Independent reported Spain’s Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez has offered his condolences the family and paid tribute to rescue workers.

“The whole of Spain feels the infinite sadness of Julen’s family,” he said. “We’ve followed closely every step to reach him. We will always appreciate the tireless efforts of those who looked for him over the past days. My support and affection to his parents and loved ones.”

Rescue Team Members who supported the rescue.

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