Inside a Mine Rescue Capsule

CBS News correspondent Jeff Glor reports from Somerset, Pa., where nine miners were pulled alive from the Quecreek Mine in 2002.

The rescue capsule that was used at Quecreek is still kept on the site in Western Pennsylvania. It's slightly smaller than the one to be used in Chile: Quecreek's is just over 9 feet tall and weighs 600 pounds; The one in Chile is 10 feet tall and weighs 900 pounds.

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What hasn't changed is an important dimension inside. As we get in you can see the 21 inch diameter makes for a tight fit. Miners will be told to keep their hands in and face back as the door is shut. Basically, don't move.

The biggest difference will be the distance traveled. The miners in Pennsylvania were only 240 feet underground. In Chile, they are about 2,300 feet below ground, nearly 10 times as far.

The main concern is that when it's being lifted almost a half mile, it will get stuck somewhere. That's one of the reasons rescue coordinators in Chile are taking their time, making sure the hole is ready and the capsule doesn't get jammed.

In 2002, rescuers at Quecreek said they had nine perfect trips up -- 9 lives saved. In Chile, they are hoping for 33.

  • Jeff Glor

    Jeff Glor was named anchor of the Sunday edition of the "CBS Evening News" in January 2012 and Special Correspondent for "CBS This Morning" in November 2011.