Chile Miner RescueRescue teams began drilling a shaft on Monday, in a gamut to save the 33 miners that are trapped 2,300 feet below ground.

The miners have been trapped in the San Jose gold and copper mine, which is about 30 miles north of Copiapo, Chile, since August 5th. They managed stay alive by sharing a very small amount of food and water. Once officials confirmed that they were alive and safe, they began to send down supplies through small holes that were drilled.

Over the next few days the miners will be sent sandwiches and hot food though the holes. There are also plans to send down bedding, but that process could take longer. The men are eagerly anticipating the arrival of solid food.

NASA, which has experience working with people in cramped and isolated conditions, is sending a four person team to Chile to offer physical and behavioral health support.

On Sunday the miners were able to speak with their families directly for the first time. Each family member was allotted 20 seconds to talk. This is a continued effort to keep up the spirits and health of the trapped men.

It may be December before the miners are rescued and able to see their families again. There is an alternate plan being explored which could possibly cut that time in half. But there are no guarantees that it will work, or even be implemented. Rescuers are placing the safety of the miners at the top of the list.

In the meantime, the rescuers are trying to make the wait as comfortable as possible. They are sending clothing, towels, shampoos, mp3 players, a tv projector and even films and tv shows down for them. They have even considered potential diseases and have sent down vaccines to prevent them.

(image: flickr/desierto_atacama)