Several Manitowoc cranes provided key support during the rescue of 33 miners trapped underground in a mine outside of Copiapo, Chile. The event, broadcast worldwide, captured each miner being hoisted to the surface with a winch suspended from a yellow tripod.
Behind the scenes, hundreds of people and dozens of pieces of support equipment worked non-stop to prepare for the rescues. The Manitowoc equipment included a Grove GMK5130-2 all-terrain crane and four Grove rough-terrain cranes.
Raul Burger, owner of Burger Gruas, a crane rental company based in Santiago, Chile, said he was asked to help with reinforcing the rescue shaft by Codelco — the state-owned copper producer leading the rescue efforts. Burger sent a Grove GMK5130-2 all-terrain crane to the rescue site.
“We learned there was a strong possibility that a reinforcement casing would need to be inserted into the rescue shaft,” Burger said. “That casing was composed of five, 12-meter pipe sections, each approximately 70 cm in diameter and weighing 5 tons.”
Vecchiola, a company based in Copiapo, Chile, that specializes in mining support services, was also called in to help with the rescue. The company had four Grove rough-terrain cranes on site — two RT760s and two RT9100s.
One of Vecchiola’s RT760s was used to assemble the yellow tripod that supported the winch used to hoist the miners to the surface. Vecchiola personnel also helped unload and construct the mobile hospital where the miners were first treated before being transported to Copiapo.
“It was a very exhausting and emotional week leading up to the rescue,” Burger said. “And it was so exciting when the first miner emerged from the shaft. I was so proud that our cranes and expertise were put to good use.”
The Manitowoc Co. is a multi-industry, capital goods manufacturer with nearly 100 manufacturing, distribution, service, and/or office facilities in 26 countries. It is one of the world’s largest providers of lifting equipment for the global construction industry, including lattice-boom cranes, tower cranes, mobile telescopic cranes, and boom trucks.