The San Jose Mine Rescue; Jim Stefanic commemorates the five-year anniversary of Plan B

November 12, 2015 by James Stefanic, operations manager, Geotec Boyles Bros.
 


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On Aug. 5, the main shaft of the San Jose Mine in Chile’s Atacama Region collapsed, leaving 33 miners trapped for 17 days 624 m (2,000 ft) below the earth’s surface, cut off from the world. Rescue efforts continued for more than two weeks, and on Aug. 22 a bore hole broke through to a rescue chamber, making contact with the men. The miners painted the drill pipe red and attached a note, telling the world that they were alive.

Jim Stefanic, operations manager, Geotec Boyles Bros, was called to the San Jose Mine shortly after the collapse and began drilling bore holes in an attempt to locate the miners. Upon learning that the initial plan to rescue the miners would take months to complete, Stefanic and Greg Hall of Driller’s Supply came up with another plan. Their plan was to follow the bore hole that had made contact with the miners and widen it enough to send a capsule down to retrieve the men. It came to be known as Plan B.

Stefanic assumed leadership of the Plan B Team, an ambitious effort that used a rock hammer drill bit provided by Center Rock Inc. and the skills of driller Jeff Hart who was pulled away from drilling water well in Afghanastan to operate the Schramm Drill T-130 XD rig. 33 days after the operation began Plan B broke through with a 26-inch hole, creating an escape for the miners.

Stefanic joins SME to speak about the rescue efforts that took place five years ago.