Background on the rescue driller Jeff Hart

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From Yahoo/Associated Press:
Driller from Denver becomes Chile mine rescue hero
Jeff Hart was drilling water wells for the U.S. Army's forward operating bases in Afghanistan when he got the call to fly to Chile.

He spent the next 33 days on his feet, operating the drill that finally provided a way out Saturday for 33 trapped miners.

"You have to feel through your feet what the drill is doing; it's a vibration you get so that you know what's happening," explained Hart, a contractor from Denver, Colorado.

A muscular, taciturn man with callused hands and a sunburned face, Hart normally pounds rock for oil or water.

He's used to extreme conditions while he works the hydraulic levers that guide the drills' hammers.

But this was something different � 33 lives were depending on him.

"I was nervous today," said Hart, 40.
Talk about a hero. More:
Hart was called in from Afghanistan, "simply because he's the best" at drilling larger holes with the T130's wide-diameter drill bits, Stefanic said.
Again: "the best" So what was he doing in Afghanistan drilling water wells? More:
Standing before the levers, pressure meters and gauges on the T130's control panel, Hart and the rest of the team faced many challenges in drilling the shaft. At one point, the drill struck a metal support beam in the poorly mapped mine, shattering its hammers. Fresh equipment had to be flown in from the United States and progress was delayed for days as powerful magnets were lowered to pull out the pieces.

The mine's veins of gold and copper ran through quartzite with a high level of abrasive silica, rock so tough that it took all their expertise to keep the drill's hammers from curving off in unwanted directions. "It was horrible," said Center Rock President Brandon Fisher, exhausted after hardly sleeping during the effort.
One last bit:
Champagne sprayed all around him after Hart guided the drill into the miners' chamber. He pulled the last punch so that the drill extended just over two feet (65 centimeters) beyond the ceiling. A less experienced hand might have broken through with too much power, endangering the miners and even jamming the shaft with broken equipment.

"We got the job done," Hart said simply.
Out of a 2,050 hole, he overshot by two feet. That is a 0.0975% margin of error -- stunning performance from this kind of equipment. More info on the Schramm T-130XD drill can be found here: Schramm Incorporated

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on October 13, 2010 8:00 PM.

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