Arrow-right Camera


Mine rescuers may drill second tunnel

Thu., April 21, 2011, 5:02 p.m.

Rescue workers are considering drilling a second tunnel as part of their efforts to reach a silver miner who has been trapped in the Lucky Friday Mine since a tunnel collapsed last Friday.

The Idaho-based Hecla Mining company is drilling through a 220-foot rock wall in hopes of reaching Larry “Pete” Marek . So far, the company has made it about 101 feet into the rock.

Company officials said Thursday that they were considering trying to reach Marek from another angle as well, drilling into a 182-foot rock wall. However, they had not started doing that by late Thursday afternoon because they wanted to prevent interference with stability monitoring.

A third two-inch diameter drill hole has advanced 155 feet and is near the first 180-foot drill hole completed Tuesday. The additional drill holes help provide information about the size of the space, or void, in the rockfall where Marek was last known to be working.

The company expects to continue to drill additional holes. A 46-foot hole drilled through the rubble pile was also completed Tuesday. The two completed drill holes have allowed the company to send fresh air into that space.

Workers first tried to rescue Marek by clearing the debris from the collapsed area, but unstable conditions forced them to abandon the effort when they were just 35 feet away from the open space where they hope Marek is waiting.

Click here to comment on this story »