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Discussion Starter #1
Freedom at last!

Miners Todd Russell and Brant Webb have finally been freed from the underground prison where they have been trapped for 14 days.

The jubilant pair, arms raised in victory, emerged from the mine in amazing condition at 5.59am, walking out of the elevator like they had just come off shift.

They were checked over by medical teams before being brought to the surface. The men were described as being "very chipper".

Their fitness, scored at three out of a possible four, so impressed their rescuers that some colleagues speculated they might attend today's funeral of fellow miner Larry Knight, who was killed by the rock fall that trapped the men. News of the rescue triggered jubilation in Beaconsfield, with cheers and the sound of the mine's siren ending days of tense expectation.

The local church bell, which had not rung since World War II, tolled three times.

Hundreds of locals lined the street to welcome home the trapped men.

Australian Workers Union National Secretary Bill Shorten said: "The great escape's over".

"I'm just glad it's over", Mr Shorten said.

The good news came after rescue teams spent the night drilling upwards into the chamber where they had been trapped by a rockfall on Anzac Day (April 25).

A probe drilled up through the rock last night confirmed rescuers were heading in the right direction and this morning the trapped miners finally had their freedom.

Mine manager Matthew Gill revealed that the rescue tunnel had been so accurate that when they broke through they could actually touch the trapped men.

Both were reported to be safe and well, and were taken to Launceston Hospital after emerging.
 

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Hi cookeetree-

What a great story! I guess they pumped warm air down the rescue hole to keep the trapped miners warm? What did they do about oxygen, water, food, and bigger supplies like blankets, bandages, and medicine?

~ Blue Jays ~
 

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wow. Great to hear they made it out alive. Mining disasters always get me since my dad was a coal miner for 30 years.
 

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This is a wonderful story. I knew all the friends, relatives & loved ones were so sure of their revovery the first day or two, but as the days wore on the more questionable things became &, like others, I was thinking this was NOT going to be a recovery of two live miners.

Believe me we Cdns were more then interested in said incident & always giving thought about them. Like even at or indoor h/gun range we were talking about them last Sunday!!!!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The dead miner was found relatively quiclky, giving rescuers little hope of finding the other two alive.

However, after 5 days, thermal imaging cameras found the pair. They had been trapped in the "cherry picker" basket on the front of the machine they were working on.

It was another couple of days before rescuers were able to sneak a small pvc pipe through to the men, giving them food and water. They were also passed clothes, blankets, a digital camera (to show rescuers what their "home" was like) and even received i-pods to while away the hours.

The rock density was seriously underestimated however, which is why it took rescuers so many extra days to reach them. A special drill had to be sent down the mine, with concrete footings laid for it.

The pair both checked-out of hospital yesterday, one of them only a couple of hours after arriving, and attended the funeral of the dead miner, Larry Knight. His family had been putting-off the funeral so that they might be able to attend. They couldn't wait any longer, though, and the funeral was to go ahead yesterday regardless.

The whole country is abuzz. It's just fantastic that it was a happy ending, though it was tinged with sadness for the loss of one man.

One of Larry's high school friends, a man who's now the local head of a religious bikie group known as the God Squad conducted the service. Larry was a biker and the God Squad lead the hearse with their motorbikes.

Such a day of mixed emotions...
 

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It was interesting in the last two days for they came up against the granit like rock & from what we heard they were going to crack or break it a bit with small explosives, that would not endanger the miners or prior work let alone the concret work they had done from their end.

Obviously this is going to make a very good book.
 

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didn't they stop at a fast food joint when they were in the ambulance before going to the hospital?

That's pretty wicked that they recieved an Ipod to pass the time. Def will turn into a movie one day.
 

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It was relieving to see them rescued and they owe their survival mostly to each other it seems.

I was amazed to see one having a drink not 24hours after being rescued! That's a fast recovery time :eek:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
JBaz said:
didn't they stop at a fast food joint when they were in the ambulance before going to the hospital?..
One of the guys had joked, in the days just before their rescue, that he wanted the ambulance to go through the Macca's drive-thru, but no, it didn't actually happen.



Originally posted by kanwisch
I was amazed to see one having a drink not 24 hours after being rescued! That's a fast recovery time
No, that's Australian! :p

He was down the pub the same day, celebrating his release and mourning the loss of Larry Knight, the only person to have died in the collapse.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Update...

Miners thank rescuers

Four days ago they were in an unimaginable place – last night they stood in front of thousands who had waited so long to witness their freedom.

Beaconsfield miners Todd Russell and Brant Webb turned out to thank both the people of Australia who would have done anything to free them during their two weeks trapped underground, and the colleagues who actually made it possible.

First, they went to a union meeting to support the rest of the town's miners as a vote was taken to go back underground. They were greeted with rousing cheers.

Miners have demanded two separate inquiries into the April 25 collapse that killed Larry Knight, 44, and led to the long drama of the pair's imprisonment.

But the town's miners say they want to return to work once the mine is declared safe.

Once the business end of the day was over, the pair was treated to a very different kind of welcome as guests of honour at gala concert for Beaconsfield.

Locals queued from 4am yesterday to grab tickets to party with the men. Rockers Shannon Noll and Lee Harding provided the entertainment.

All through the day, Mr Russell and Mr Webb were treated as heroes, slapped on the back by locals as they walked through the streets of their Tasmanian home town and pursued by television cameras.

But perhaps most welcome of all, after so many days of terrible tension, were some quietly spoken words from Mr Russell: "I'm just having a quiet day."
 

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Update...

Miners off to US to sell story

Rescued miners Brant Webb and Todd Russell will head to the United States for media interviews after receiving a reported AUD$2.6 million for telling their story to Channel 9.

Last night the network aired the men's stories about their time trapped in a steel cage almost a kilometre underground in Tasmania's Beaconsfield gold mine.

They told how they made contingency plans to amputate each other's legs with Stanley knives, after their legs were pinned by the Anzac Day cave-in that killed their workmate Larry Knight and trapped them "like rats" for 14 days.

The men's rescue on May 9 attracted international media attention and their tales are expected to play well in the US. Nine said the men were now preparing to fly to New York to do an interview with a major US television network.

It has been reported that an initial interview with the ABC television network in the US should pave the way for more lucrative deals. Earlier reports had everyone from US talk-show doyens Oprah Winfrey and Larry King interested in talking to the men.

Mr Russell revealed that rescuers first made physical contact with the pair five days after the rockfall, but the miners asked rescuers not to get them out via that route because of the precarious nature of the cage in which they were trapped.

They said they had made a pact to take messages to each other's families should only one of them live. In the absence of writing paper, they also scribbled letters to their loved ones in biro on their overalls and their arms but some of these were washed off by trickling water and sweat.

As rescuers blasted their way towards them, they thought the salvage operation might kill them and shook hands every time they survived a blast.

They were not told of the death of workmate Larry Knight, 44, until day eight underground, when they insisted rescuers tell them the truth.
 

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Hi cookeetree-

Their legs were pinned for two weeks and they didn't lose them?! That is an amazing stroke of good luck.

~ Blue Jays ~
 
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