A Bloomington company is affiliated with the efforts to rescue 33 people from a mine in Chile. Wittman Hydro Planning is a subsidiary of Layne Christensen. The company sent a handful of people along with a drill rig to the northern part of Chile more than a month ago. They were tasked with cutting through about 2300 feet of solid rock and creating a tunnel large enough for the miners to escape. Wittman Hydro Planning’s President Jack Wittman says although their work is done, crews are still on the scene to watch as the rescue of the miners begins.
“We’ve done kind of things where we’ve dug pilot holes to access and explore but this was new,” Wittman said. “This was to retrieve people. We were mining people basically. We were helping people come out of the hole.”
The first miner is supposed to be rescued today- with the other 32 following over the course of the next couple days. In a press release from Layne Christensen a company spokesman said their presence cut more than two months from the original rescue estimate. He went on to say without Layne it probably would have taken until Christmas to rescue the miners.