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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 May 2006, 11:10 GMT 12:10 UK
Delays in Tasmanian mine rescue
Rescuers at the mine in Tasmania
Rescuers say the final stage of the rescue will be delicate
Efforts to free two Australian miners trapped for more than a week in a gold mine in Tasmania could take another 48 hours, emergency workers have warned.

Rescuers are beginning the slow process of boring an escape tunnel after safety fears saw them drop using explosives.

Brant Webb, 36, and Todd Russell, 35, have been receiving food and water through a narrow pipe and have been given iPods to help them pass the time.

A small earthquake triggered a rock fall that trapped the men underground.

The rock fall at Beaconsfield Gold Mine claimed the life of 44-year-old miner Larry Knight. His family have said they will delay his funeral until his colleagues emerge.

Slow rescue

Efforts to reach the men were delayed as rescue teams waited for tons of concrete to dry.

The concrete was used as the base for a drill known as a raise borer which the rescuers considered would be a safer, but slower means of extracting the men.

Previously they had been using drills and explosives to blast a tunnel toward the miners but stopped late Monday, fearing they could trigger another cave-in.

They have now begun to bore a tunnel through the final 40 feet (12 metres) of the solid rock that separates them from the miners.

They are also being helped by images taken on a digital camera which was passed to the miners through the pipe.

"They are able to point the camera around the various parts of their fairly cramped environment," Australian Workers Union national secretary Bill Shorten told reporters.

"That helps actually guide the rescuers to the best spot to rescue the blokes, so the blokes are helping to rescue themselves," he said.

Raised spirits

A woman inspects flowers left for two Australian miners trapped underground for more than a week
The whole community has been affected by the accident

Efforts are also focusing on keeping the men in good spirits.

They have regularly been receiving food and water, but have also been given magazines and iPods.

Family members have sent notes and drawings.

The trapped miners are about 3,000 ft (1km) underground in the steel cage they were working in at the time of the earthquake which happened on 25 April.

The dead miner was the driver of the vehicle operating the cage.

Watch rescue efforts so far

Race on to rescue Tasmania miners
01 May 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Trapped Tasmanian miners get food
01 May 06 |  Asia-Pacific


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