Trapped Chilean miners could remain underground for four months: Oz mine survivor

     Beaconsfield mine survivor Brant Webb says the 33 Chilean miners trapped since August 5, face another three to four months of remaining underground, even as rescuers seek ways to drill an opening large enough to get them out. Webb, who was trapped in a steel cage after the Beaconsfield mine rockfall with fellow miner Todd Russell for two weeks in 2006, said it was important for the Chilean miners to have contact with their loved ones. "You have to get some correspondence from the loved ones to keep everything on a high. There are so many highs and lows in being trapped - you're alive, that's a high, we can't get you out, that's a low," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Brant, as telling AAP. "The mental rollercoaster they are on is huge and without getting reassurance, without getting words from your loved ones, your mental and physical state goes downhill," he added. The Chilean miners have managed to get a note out through a shaft drilled 700 metres into the earth, telling engineers and family members that they were together and alive inside an emergency shelter. Brant said the threat of dysentery was always present and the miners had to deal with sanitary issues. "The biggest problem they have got is infection - if they are drinking dirty water it's only a small amount of time before they get dysentery," he said. "That was our main concern, we urinated in our helmets and poured it out the side because we didn't want to get infection. "Todd didn't pass a stool for two weeks, he was getting slowly poisoned. "But once they do have bowel movements, what are they going to do with it - the probability of getting crook just goes up." He said when these men are rescued they will be bonded to each other for the rest of their lives. "They will come out very united, they will have really good friendships forever and a day but they are going to be different men," he said.

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