A rescuer speaking to miners by video conferencing, in a photo released by the Chilean Ministry of Mining

33 miners, trapped in a copper and gold mine since August 5th, have begun training for their rescue.  The rescue preparations include walking and jogging through the tunnels they are trapped in. Starting tomorrow, the exercise routine will begin to ramp up.

Officials in Chile say that a rescue could come as soon as November, raising hopes that the rescuers could be running slightly ahead of schedule.

There are currently three holes being drilled down to the miners, building redundancy into the rescue operation. If one or two of the drilling attempts fail or is delayed, there will still be a third chance.

Once a wide enough hole is drilled down to the miners, which are almost a half a mile underground, a steel tube will be inserted into the hole. Rescue personal will lower down a one person cage, or ‘capsule’, that will be able to travel up and down the tube. The capsule includes 3 hours worth of oxygen and communications equipment. The trip up the tube is expected to take about 15 to 20 minutes. In case of an emergency, there are two emergency exits that the rider can use to exit the capsule if it becomes stuck in the tube.

The plans are for the first two riders, a miner and a paramedic, to descend into the mine. The paramedic will administer to any medical needs the miners may require before beginning their ascent. The paramedic will also supply sedatives, if needed, for what may be a stressful ride, in extremely close confines, back to the surface.

Jean Christophe Romagnoli, a physical trainer and adviser to both the Chilean Armed Forces and professional athletes, is preparing the miners for their rescue. In addition to the walking and jogging, they will be doing calisthenics and conditioning themselves for standing still for up to an hour, in case the ride to the top takes longer than planned.