MEMBERS of the Mining Rescue Brigade of Asturias, who are in the final stages of two-year-old Julen’s rescue mission, are currently working day and night to reach the toddler who fell down the Totalan well on January 13.
This elite rescue force was transferred to the Sierra de Totalan village two days after the boy fell down the hole.
The team of eight miners are carrying out the most dangerous part of the operation, having to descend in a metallic capsule and manually dig the 3.8 metre tunnel to reach the area in which Julen is believed to be.
So far, the rescuers have managed to dig over two metres of the tunnel and hope to reach the child before the end of today.
According to a statement given yesterday (Thursday) by operation coordinator, Angel Garcia Vidal, the mission was expected to take another 24 hours.
The complicated rescue is being organised by the technical director of the brigade since 2012, Sergio Tuñon, and the technical engineer, Antonio Ortega.
As reported by Spanish media, the other six mining professionals involved are Maudilio Suarez, Lazaro Alves Gutierrez, Jose Antonio Huerta, Jesus Fernandez Prado, Ruben Garcia Ares and Adrian Villaroel.
Garcia Vidal has claimed that ‘they are the best’ and ‘great professionals’.
To ensure the safety of these rescue workers, a platform has been lifted around the hole through which they will enter.
The rescuers are being lowered into the tunnel via a borer machine built specifically for Julen’s rescue by a blacksmith from Alhaurin de la Torre.
The machine is 1.05 meters in diameter and 2.5 meters high, weighing around 300 kilos and designed by Julian Moreno, technical director of the Provincial Fire Brigade.
The capsule is being used as an ‘elevator’ and is supported by a crane.
The rescuers are rotating shifts lasting between one and two hours to avoid exhaustion which they fear could impair progress.