Mateship important in mine

A Kiwi mining safety expert says the trapped Chilean miners will need to create a community to get them through the months ahead underground.

Dave Feickert, who is working in China improving accident-prone mines there, says the 33 men stuck 700m underground will need to rely on each other.

The miners have been told it could take four months to free them - a situation that was initially kept from them because of the psychological impact it could have.

Wanganui-based Feickert, who is also standing for the mayoralty, said the fact they had an experienced miner to lead them - Mario Gomez, 63, who sent a message to the surface - was positive and he could help his less-experienced colleagues.

He said support would be needed from the surface. There are plans to drop audio and video equipment down, so that the miners can communicate with rescuers and their families.

Without access to sunlight and being stuck in a relatively small area, the physical conditions will be difficult for the miners over a prolonged period.

- Herald on Sunday

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