Equipped with a high-resolution camera, the device will allow divers to spot potential obstacles “without endangering rescuers’ lives.”
Mexican authorities are preparing for an underwater drone operation Monday, August 8, to allow rescue divers access to a flooded coal mine where 10 workers have been trapped for five days.
“Today we will be working with an underwater drone that the Navy sent,” Laura Velázquez, director of the civil defense service, said during a news conference with President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador, who oversaw rescue efforts at the scene on Sunday.
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Pumping work in progress
She explained that the device has a high-resolution camera and a light that can record down to 250 meters (820 ft) so divers can spot potential obstructions “without endangering divers’ lives.” These announcements have sparked concern among miners’ families, who are hoping this inspection will expedite emergency access. But under the plan put forward by the army, the well diving is not scheduled to take place until mid-week.
According to these estimates, the flood level for access would be 1.5 meters versus the current 19.4 meters of water. The government said pumping work is also continuing to evacuate water from the mine at a depth of 30 to 40 meters. “More than 300 liters per second are being pumped (…) and we are rushing to get the water out so that rescuers can get in,” said President Lopez Obrador, who called for increased efforts on Sunday. “Everyone has faith, no one thinks of anything but the rescue,” he said, saying that workers on site and families remain confident the miners are alive.
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The accident happened around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday when miners while digging found an area full of water, the collapse of which caused the flooding. According to experts, it is a very dangerous artisanal mine located 1130 km north of the capital, Mexico, in the state of Coahuila, which supplies all national coal production.