IT is the rescue mission that has captivated the world.
Miners are facing ‘extremely hard’ rock which they cannot manually perforate with hammers and spades.
The team has so far carried out three small, controlled explosions in order to perforate the rocks obstructing the tunnel, according to Diario Sur.
Eight specialist miners have been working through the night to manually dig the final four metres left to reach the spot where they believe little Julen is stuck.
— NICO CONSOLI (@NicoConsoli23) January 24, 2019
The process is severely slowing down the efforts, as the miners – who are working through a tiny window in an underground metal tube – must evacuate the tunnel every time an explosive is placed.
They then have to ventilate the well and remove the debris before continuing to dig.
A Guardia Civil helicopter has reportedly flown to Sevilla to collect more explosives in case of further obstructions.
Novedades rescate #Totalán.
En este momento se introduce la cesta con dos miembros de la brigada de salvamento minero con objeto de asegurar la tráquea de aire exterior y a continuación comienzan los trabajos para localizar a #Julen . pic.twitter.com/qaRqC83KMv
— Alfonso R GómezCelis (@gomezdcelis) January 24, 2019
It is unclear how long it will take to dig the final metres but engineers hope they will reach the little tot today.
“We are moving forward centimetre by centimetre. We hope to end by today but we cannot guarantee this because of the circumstances of the terrain,” Francisco Delgado, head of the regional Fire Department, told El Pais.
Little Julen Jimenez has tragically been stuck underground since January 13, after falling down the 107-metre hole during a family picnic in Totalan.