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May 6, 2006 7:07 PM   Subscribe

Two Australian gold miners spent a 12th night trapped underground as rescuers struggling to cut the final stretch of an escape tunnel by hand on Sunday considered using explosives. Officials had hoped to free Brant Webb, 37, and Todd Russell, 34, before dawn but said progress chipping through the solid rock by jackhammer was slower than expected. Previously, when a narrow shaft had been bored to provide them with air and food: Trapped Australian Miners Get IPods. This promps Dave Grohl of the Foofighters to offer to buy them a beer. One of the miners also requested "a newspaper so he could check the classified ads for a new job". Hope they make it out OK.
posted by 445supermag (25 comments total)

 
"doctor, he's going into anaphylactic shock!"
"quick! get this man an ipod!"
posted by 6am at 7:18 PM on May 6, 2006


One of the miners also requested "a newspaper so he could check the classified ads for a new job".

Send him a laptop, then he can telecommute to the new job.

Oh man, 12 days trapped in a metal cage kept alive by a narrow shaft while people try to build a tunnel to reach you. Not Fun. :(
posted by -harlequin- at 7:32 PM on May 6, 2006


Incidentally, has anyone noticed that whenever there is a trouble in the world, there is always an entity at the centre of it that the media will only refer to as "an Australian mining company" (henceforth "AAMC"), without giving a name.
Be it a dam-burst in some third world country killing everything for miles around (toxic tailings dam run by AAMC). Or a civil war. (hinging on a giant copper mine owned by AAMC). Or alledged mercenaries intercepted en-route (hired by AAMC). Or allegations of dodgy uranium dealings (involving AAMC). Or the current miners trapped underground (working for AAMC).

Sometimes I wonder if there isn't just some giant ACME corporation called AAMC that is the puppet master of the entire world :-)

AAMC is the new ACME :)
posted by -harlequin- at 7:39 PM on May 6, 2006


At least these guys have a sense of humour and perspective.
posted by SirOmega at 7:49 PM on May 6, 2006


I'm grateful that their sense of humor gives all of us some perspective as well.

*fingers crossed*
posted by bardic at 7:52 PM on May 6, 2006


Further snippets:

They asked to stop off at a Maccas for steak, egg and chips on the way to the hospital "with the lights and sirens going." Their boss has been down and reported "we didn't talk overtime but I did talk to Brant about lying down on the job." Karen Pendrey, a paramedic who has spent 28 hours talking with the miners, describes them as "very cheeky."

Don't forget that they are living with the knowledge that their colleague Larry Knight died in the rockfall that trapped them.

-harlequin-, that sounds like the beginnings of a good FPP.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 8:42 PM on May 6, 2006


Oddly enough, the media reports of how drinks, icypoles and omlettes are being passed to them down a PVC pipe are strangely silent about how the men are getting rid of accumulated bodily waste. My guess is that the cage is getting pretty funky by now.
posted by tim_in_oz at 9:00 PM on May 6, 2006


-harlequin-: AAMC
posted by swell at 10:02 PM on May 6, 2006


I love Australians. You'd never see Americans being cheeky at a time like this. It'd be all 5000 news crews and Bill O'Reilly talking about what idiots they are for wanting to go to Mickey D's before seeing their families or fighting for freedom or whatever.

AAMC is the new ACME :)

But it seems like AAMC is usually incompetent, rather than vaguely sinister or truly ubiquitious or vaguely sinister AND incompetent.
posted by dw at 10:13 PM on May 6, 2006


I think there's a stream carrying away bodily waste.
posted by emf at 10:26 PM on May 6, 2006


Its all happening...
posted by fullysic at 10:31 PM on May 6, 2006


Interesting to note that the mine cave-in has claimed its second life - a journalist who has been high profile as the talking head for Australian 60 min. I heard the live cross to the last news conference he participated in. His legacy is sounding like a wanker pushing the mine administrator on the safety record of the mine when the admin guy was giving a status report on the rescue.
posted by dangerousdan at 12:08 AM on May 7, 2006


. . . or if you followed fullysic's link!
posted by dangerousdan at 12:09 AM on May 7, 2006


Whilst sad, Carelton's journalistic ethos are something the news industry in this country can do without. Ever since his trip to East Timor during the Independence vote when he brought champagne and caviar in an eski and asked East Timorese how they would be voting with Indonesian soilders within earshot, I haven't respected him as a reporter. I am sure he will be missed by some, though. At least he died doing what he probably loved.

As for the miners themselves, well, all I can say is that I feel for them. A lot. 15 days in a cage underground in Tasmania in the middle of winter. There's no toilet (so just imagine what they'll have had to do since becoming trapped), no room to walk, really, and the constant fear that maybe, just maybe you won't get out. Poor buggers.

The one upside to the constantly unfolding tragedy is that Bill Shorten and the AWU have been getting some massive exposure out of all of this, and good exposure at that. In the middle of a High Court fight to overturn terrible new Industrial Relations laws, this kind of exposure for the unions can only be a good thing.

In short; condolences to the Carelton (and Knight) familes. "Stay strong!" to the trapped miners. And keep up the good work, Shorten old mate.
posted by Effigy2000 at 12:25 AM on May 7, 2006


It being the middle of winter makes little difference to them. That far down the temperature is a fairly constant 30 degrees celsius.
posted by tomble at 1:08 AM on May 7, 2006


The one upside to the constantly unfolding tragedy is that Bill Shorten and the AWU have been getting some massive exposure out of all of this, and good exposure at that.

Have they been getting exposure on anything other than the ABC though?

(that's not a snarky question - I'm interested to know, because I don't really watch / listen to anything else at the moment)
posted by Jimbob at 1:11 AM on May 7, 2006


For Effigy2000 & tim_in_oz:

While hygiene appears to have been a problem for the men during the first days of their ordeal, water dripping down through the mine shaft and water sent down to the men by rescuers has allowed them to wash most waste away from the cramped cage where they have been confined. (The Age)

Also:
The two men are able to crawl out through a gate in the side of the small cage in which they were working when the mine collapsed, but have only a metre of room.(Herald Sun)

So they don't have to drop logs in front of each other.

What amazes me is that they've sent down an inflatable mattress, a tarpaulin, iPods, clean clothes, glow sticks and meals - through a 9cm wide, 12m long PVC pipe.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 1:46 AM on May 7, 2006


Jimbob; Yeah, I watch the ABC mostly, but I do read and see commercial media quite often by way of my job. And yes, they have been getting a lot of exposure through this. Shorten has pretty much been the go to guy for all media outlets and as such he's had his words printed in pretty much all media outlets and his face on national TV every night. While no one has been explicit in saying "thank god the unions have a hand in helping these two guys" the subtext of his face and his union being so high profile in the reporting of this event has no doubt been nothing but a plus for the union movement in general. It is just an enormous shame that to get this kind of exposure two unfortunate, ordinary blokes had to be put through such a horrible ordeal.

Busy Old Fool; Interesting. Thanks for letting me know how they handled that potentially smelly problem. Still, with only a space about 1 metre wide and 15 days worth of excrement x 2, going to "drop logs" is something that both of these guys probably dosen't look forward too anymore.
posted by Effigy2000 at 2:31 AM on May 7, 2006


What, I wonder, will happen to these guys when (hopefully when, not if) they get out? Do you think they'll ever want to go down a mine again?

If they don't (and who could blame them?) do you suppose the company will offer them alternative employment in something on the surface? Admin, transport, etc ...
posted by kaemaril at 7:11 AM on May 7, 2006


What, I wonder, will happen to these guys when (hopefully when, not if) they get out?

They will make a few hundred thousand from chequebook journalism, and be universally proclaimed as "heroes", just like Stuart Diver, a guy who was similarly buried under a pile of shite and had the good luck not to die.

Where these miners really strike gold is that people have apparently been donating shitloads of cash to special funds set up for them, which just shows that if you are injured or killed at work, as so many hundreds or thousands are every year, you should do your best to make it the kind of accident that can easily be turned into a sensationalist reality TV show droning on for weeks.

(Apart from that, good luck to them, but shite! 15 minutes on these blokes at the opening of every news show for two weeks is just milking it)
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:19 PM on May 7, 2006


I was wondering about their poo, much like David Blaine in the fishbowl (except they aren't in a fish bowl in full public view).

Well, if they are the cards that they are supposed to be they should make pretty good talk show guests. If they used that platform to highlight the plights of other workplace accident sufferers then they would be heros.
posted by asok at 6:26 PM on May 7, 2006


You couldn't buy the publicity that Bill Shorten has been getting out of the accident, and good on him too, he'll soon be my federal member.

The hyperbole that was unleashed in response to Beazley's comments was over the top. the fact is, unions are good for safety, and are being written out of the workplace by Howard's IR changes, and more of these accidents are likely to happen.
posted by wilful at 7:02 PM on May 7, 2006


News here is reporting that they have just been rescued. Let's hope that this is for real and not a repeat of what happened in the US last year.
posted by psmealey at 12:10 PM on May 8, 2006


Some humor on the wikipedia entry:
These two miners were finally freed after 14 days, failing in an attempt to beat the record of 20 days set in France in 1906.
posted by 445supermag at 1:04 PM on May 8, 2006


Yep they're free.

I read they have to clock off when they leave. I reckon they'll be getting quite a bit of overtime, if so.
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:45 PM on May 8, 2006


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