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2010 Copiapó mining accident facts for kids

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2010 Copiapó mining accident
Rescue efforts at San José Mine near Copiapó, Chile on 10 August 2010
Rescue efforts at San José Mine near Copiapó, Chile on 10 August 2010
Date 5 August 2010 (2010-08-05) – 13 October 2010 (2010-10-13)
(69 days)
Time 14:05 CLT (UTC−4)
Location Atacama Desert near Copiapó, Chile
Coordinates 27°09′31″S 70°29′52″W / 27.158609°S 70.497655°W / -27.158609; -70.497655Coordinates: 27°09′31″S 70°29′52″W / 27.158609°S 70.497655°W / -27.158609; -70.497655
First reporter San Esteban Mining Company
Outcome All 33 trapped miners rescued
Property damage Total closure and loss as of August 2010
Litigation US$2 million lawsuit as of August 2010

The 2010 Copiapó mining accident, also known then as the "Chilean mining accident", began on Thursday, 5 August 2010, with a cave-in at the San José copper–gold mine, located in the Atacama Desert 45 kilometers (28 mi) north of the regional capital of Copiapó, in northern Chile. Thirty-three men, trapped 700 meters (2,300 ft) underground and 5 kilometers (3 mi) from the mine's entrance via spiraling underground ramps, were rescued after 69 days.

After the state-owned mining company, Codelco, took over rescue efforts from the mine's owners, exploratory boreholes were drilled. Seventeen days after the accident, a note was found taped to a drill bit pulled back to the surface: "Estamos bien en el refugio los 33" (We are well in the shelter, the 33 of us).

Three separate drilling rig teams, nearly every Chilean government ministry, the United States's space agency, NASA, and a dozen corporations from around the world cooperated in completing the rescue. On 13 October 2010 the men were winched to the surface one at a time, in a specially built capsule, as an estimated 5.3 million people watched via video stream worldwide. With few exceptions all were in good medical condition with no long-term physical effects anticipated. Private donations covered one-third of the US$20 million cost of the rescue, with the rest coming from the mine owners and the government.

Previous geological instability at the old mine and a long record of safety violations for the mine's owners, San Esteban Mining Company, had resulted in a series of fines and accidents, including eight deaths, during the dozen years leading up to this accident. Following three years of work, lawsuits and investigations into the collapse concluded in August 2013 with no charges filed.

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