Belfast Telegraph

Friday 28 November 2014

Chile mine rescue: How Belfast did its bit

Rescue drill cutter made by local firm, but recognition comes too late as plant closes

SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 13: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Ariel Ticona, the 32nd miner to be rescued, is hugged by Chile's president Sebastian Pinera on October 13, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5, 2010 collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 13: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Ariel Ticona becomes the 32nd miner to be rescued on October 13, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5, 2010 collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
Luis Urzua, center, the 33rd and final miner to be rescued from the San Jose Mine near Copiapo, Chile
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 13: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Ariel Ticona becomes the 32nd miner to be rescued on October 13, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5, 2010 collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 13: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Ariel Ticona becomes the 32nd miner to be rescued on October 13, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5, 2010 collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 13: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Pedro Cortes becomes the 31st miner to be rescued on October 13, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5, 2010 collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 13: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Pedro Cortes becomes the 31st miner to be rescued on October 13, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5, 2010 collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 13: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Pedro Cortes becomes the 31st miner to be rescued on October 13, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5, 2010 collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 13: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Raul Bustos becomes the 30th miner to be rescued on October 13, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5, 2010 collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 13: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Raul Bustos becomes the 30th miner to be rescued on October 13, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5, 2010 collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 13: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Raul Bustos becomes the 30th miner to be rescued on October 13, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5, 2010 collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
In this screen grab taken from video, Luis Urzua, center, the 33rd and final miner to be rescued from the San Jose Mine near Copiapo, Chile, is seen after his rescue. (AP Photo)
The 33 miners who were trapped alive in the San Jose mine. Top row from left to right are Alex Vega Salazar, Ariel Ticona Yanez, Carlos Andres Bugueno Alfaro, Calros Barrios Contreras, Carlos Mamani Solis, Claudio Antonio Acuna Cortes, Claudio David Yanez Lagos, Daniel Esteban Herrera Campos, Dario Antonio Segovia Rojas, Edison Fernando Pena Villarroel and Esteban Alfonso Rojas Carrizo. Second row from left to right are Florencio Antonio Avalos Silva, Franklin Lobos Ramirez, Jimmy Sanchez Lagues, Jorge Hernan Galleguillos, Jorge Ricardo Ojeda Vidal, Jose Samuel Henriquez Gonzalez, Juan Andres Illanes Palma, Juan Carlos Aguilar Gaete, Luis Alberto Urzua, Mario Nicolas Gomez Heredia and Mario Sepulveda Espina. Third row from left to right are Omar Orlando Reygada Rojas, Osman Isidro Araya Acuna, Pablo Amadeos Rojas Villacorta, Pedro Cortez, Raul Enriquez Bustos Ibanez, Renan Anselmo Avalos Silva, Richard Reinaldo Villarroel Godoy, Samuel Dionisio Avalos Acuna, Victor Antonio Segovia Rojas, Victor Hermogenes Zamora Bugueno and Johny Barrios Rojas
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 13: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Franklin Lobos, 53, becomes the 27th miner to be rescued on October 13, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5, 2010 collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 13: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Esteban Rojas, 44, kneels to pray after stepping out from the rescue capsule and becoming the 18th miner to be rescued while his wife holds up a cloth print of the Our Lady of Guadalupe on October 13, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5, 2010 collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 13: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Franklin Lobos, 53, becomes the 27th miner to be rescued on October 13, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5, 2010 collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 13: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Franklin Lobos, 53, becomes the 27th miner to be rescued on October 13, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5, 2010 collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 13: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Carlos Bugueno Alfaro (2ndR), 26, becomes the 23rd miner to be rescued on October 13, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5, 2010 collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 13: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Carlos Bugueno Alfaro (2ndR), 26, becomes the 23rd miner to be rescued on October 13, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5, 2010 collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 13: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Richard Villarroel becomes the 28th miner to be rescued on October 13, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5, 2010 collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 13: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Juan Carlos Aguilar becomes the 29th miner to be rescued on October 13, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5, 2010 collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
Roxana Gomez, daughter of rescued miner Mario Gomez, cries as she watches on a TV screen the rescue operation of her father at the relatives camp outside the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile, Wednesday Oct. 13, 2010. Gomez was the ninth of 33 miners who was rescued from the San Jose mine after more than 2 months trapped underground. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
In this photo released by the Government of Chile, miner Pablo Rojas gestures as workers remove his rescue equipment after being pulled out of the collapsed San Jose gold and copper mine where he had been trapped with 32 other miners for over two months near Copiapo, Chile, Wednesday Oct. 13, 2010. (AP Photo/Hugo Infante, Chilean government)
Rescued miner Daniel Herrera gives a thumb up to journalists upon his arrival at the hospital in Copiapo, Chile Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010. Herrera was the sixteenth of 33 miners to be rescued from the San Jose mine after more than 2 months trapped underground. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)
Margarita Rojo, center, mother of miner Dario Segovia is embraced by relatives after watching on a TV screen the rescue operation of his son at the camp outside the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile, Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010. Segovia was the twentieth of 33 miners to be rescued from the mine after more than 2 months trapped underground. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
Miner Raul Bustos, in beige t-shirt, embraces his wife Cristy Coronado as Chile's President Sebastian Pinera, third right at back, applauds after Bustos' rescue operation at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. (AP Photo/Jorge Saenz)
In this photo released by the Government of Chile, miner Jhonny Barrios Rojas, left, embraces his girlfriend Susana Valenzuela after being rescued from the collapsed San Jose gold and copper mine, near Copiapo, Chile, Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010. Barrios was the twenty first of 33 miners to be rescued from the mine after more than 2 months trapped underground.(AP Photo/Hugo Infante, Government of Chile).
Relatives of miner Dario Segovia react as watching Segovia on a TV screen during his rescue operation at the camp outside the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile, Wednesday Oct. 13, 2010. Segovia was the twentieth of 33 miners to be rescued from the mine after more than 2 months trapped underground. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
Rescued miner Omar Reygadas, 56, waves to the press as he arrives at the hospital in Copiapo, Chile, Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010. Reygadas was the seventeenth of 33 miners from the San Jose mine who was rescued after more than 2 months trapped underground. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)
In this photo released by the Government of Chile, miner Pablo Rojas gestures as workers remove his rescue equipment after being pulled out of the collapsed San Jose gold and copper mine where he had been trapped with 32 other miners for over two months near Copiapo, Chile, Wednesday Oct. 13, 2010. (AP Photo/Hugo Infante, Chilean government)
Rescued miner Dario Segovia, 48, waves to the press as he arrives at the hospital of Copiapo, Chile. Segovia is the twentieth of 33 miners rescued from the San Jose mine after more than two months trapped underground. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)
In this photo released by the Chilean government, miner Renan Avalos is carried away on a stretcher after he was rescued from the collapsed San Jose gold and copper mine where he had been trapped with 32 other miners for over two months. (AP Photo/Chilean government, Gabriel Ortega)
In this photo released by the Government of Chile, miner Renan Avalos, third right, smiles after being rescued from the collapsed San Jose gold and copper mine, near Copiapo, Chile.(AP Photo/Government of Chile, Gabriel Ortega)
In this photo released by the Government of Chile, miner Richard Villaroel, centre left, waves a Chilean flag after being rescued from the collapsed San Jose gold and copper mine near Copiapo, Chile. (AP Photo/Government of Chile, Hugo Infante)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 13: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Osman Araya, 29,is hugged by a relative as he becomes the sixth miner to exit the rescue capsule, on October 13, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5, 2010 collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images) *** BESTPIX ***
Scenes from the Chile mine rescue. October 2010
Scenes from the Chile mine rescue. October 2010
Scenes from the Chile mine rescue. October 2010
Scenes from the Chile mine rescue. October 2010
Miner Mario Gomez gestures after exiting the capsule that brought him to the surface during his rescue from the collapsed San Jose gold and copper mine where he had been trapped with 32 other miners for over two months near Copiapo, Chile
Alfonso Avalos, father of trapped miner Florencio Avalos, reacts while watching on a TV screen the rescue operation of his son, the first of 33 miners to be lifted to the surface
Chile mine rescue. October 2010
Chile mine rescue. October 2010
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 13: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, the oldest rescued miner Claudio Mario Gomez, 59, kneels as he becomes the ninth to exit the rescue capsule, on October 13, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5, 2010 collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
Chile mine rescue. October 2010
Chile mine rescue. October 2010
Scenes from the Chile mine rescue. October 2010
Scenes from the Chile mine rescue. October 2010
Scenes from the Chile mine rescue. October 2010
Scenes from the Chile mine rescue. October 2010
Scenes from the Chile mine rescue. October 2010
Scenes from the Chile mine rescue. October 2010
Scenes from the Chile mine rescue. October 2010
Scenes from the Chile mine rescue. October 2010
Scenes from the Chile mine rescue. October 2010
Scenes from the Chile mine rescue. October 2010
Osman Araya, 29,is hugged by a relative as he becomes the sixth miner to exit the rescue capsule, on October 13, 2010 at the San Jose mine
Carlos Mamani, 23, is stretchered off as he becomes the fourth miner to exit the rescue capsule, on October 13, 2010 at the San Jose mine
Jimmy Sanchez, the fifth miner to be rescued, celebrates after his rescue Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010 at San Jose Mine
Florencio Avalos, 31, becomes the first miner to exit the rescue capsule at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 13: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Carlos Mamani, 23, becomes the fourth miner to exit the rescue capsule, on October 13, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5, 2010 collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
Marcelo Vilquinina, nephew of trapped miner Carlos Mamani Solis, yawns as he watches rescue operations on TV from the camp outside the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile, Wednesday Oct. 13, 2010. Thirty-three miners became trapped when the gold and copper mine collapsed on Aug. 5. Mamani was the fourth miner to be rescued. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
A boy gestures as he watches on TV the rescue operations at the San Jose mine to free 33 trapped miners in Copiapo, Chile, late Tuesday Oct. 12, 2010. Thirty-three miners became trapped when the gold and copper mine collapsed on Aug. 5. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)
In this screen grab taken from video, Carlos Mamani, the fourth miner to be rescued, celebrates after his rescue Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010 at San Jose Mine near Copiapo, Chile. Mamani had just started working as a heavy-equipment operator at the mine when it it collapsed. (AP Photo)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 12: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Mario Sepulveda, 39, is the second miner to exit the rescue capsule October 12, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5th collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
In this screen grab taken from video, rescuer Manuel Gonzalez Pavez, second left, speaks to the 33 trapped miners after being lowered into the mine near Copiapo, Chile.(AP Photo)
In this photo released by the Chilean government, Bolivian miner Juan Illanes is carried away on a stretcher after being rescued from the collapsed San Jose gold and copper mine where he was trapped with 32 other miners for over two months near Copiapo, Chile, early Wednesday Oct. 13, 2010. (AP Photo/Hugo Infante, Chilean government)
Rescued miner Juan Andres Illanes Palma, center, third miner to be rescued, salutes at his arrival to the surface from the collapsed San Jose gold and copper mine where he was trapped with 32 other miners for over two months near Copiapo, Chile, Wednesday Oct. 13, 2010.at the San Jose Mine near Copiapo, Chile Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010. Center right is Chile's President Sebastian Pinera.(AP Photo/Roberto Candia)
Chile's President Sebastian Pinera, center, first lady Cecilia Morel, left, and Mining Minister Laurence Goldburn, right, talk to the press after the rescue of the first of 33 trapped miners at the San Jose Mine near Copiapo, Chile Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010.(AP Photo/Jorge Saenz)
Rescued miner Juan Andres Illanes Palma, third miner to be rescued, salutes at his arrival to the surface from the collapsed San Jose gold and copper mine where he was trapped with 32 other miners for over two months near Copiapo, Chile, Wednesday Oct. 13, 2010.at the San Jose Mine near Copiapo, Chile Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010.(AP Photo/Roberto Candia)
A person holds a sign that reads in Spanish "Strength miners, Chile is with you" with a group of people watching on rescue operations on TV taking place at the San Jose mine to free 33 trapped miners, in Copiapo, Chile, late Tuesday Oct. 12, 2010. Thirty-three miners became trapped when the gold and copper mine collapsed on Aug. 5. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)
In this screen grab taken from video, Juan Andres Illanes, the third miner to be rescued, celebrates after his rescue Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010 at San Jose Mine near Copiapo, Chile. (AP Photo)
In this photo released by the Chilean government, Bolivian miner Juan Illanes is carried away on a stretcher after being rescued from the collapsed San Jose gold and copper mine where he was trapped with 32 other miners for over two months near Copiapo, Chile, early Wednesday Oct. 13, 2010. (AP Photo/Hugo Infante, Chilean government)
In this photo released by the Chilean presidential press office, Chile's President Sebastian Pinera, center right, greets the second rescued miner Mario Sepulveda after he was rescued from the collapsed San Jose gold and copper mine where he was trapped with 32 other miners for over two months near Copiapo, Chile, early Wednesday Oct. 13, 2010. (AP Photo/Jose Manuel de la Maza, Chilean presidential press office)
In this screen grab taken from video, Florencio Avalos, the first miner to be rescued, center, is greeted after his rescue Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2010 at San Jose Mine near Copiapo, Chile. (AP Photo)
In this photo released by the Chilean presidential press office, Chile's President Sebastian Pinera, right, hugs rescued miner Mario Sepulveda after Sepulveda was rescued from the collapsed San Jose gold and copper mine where he was trapped with 32 other miners for over two months near Copiapo, Chile, early Wednesday Oct. 13, 2010. (AP Photo/Jose Manuel de la Maza, Chilean presidential press office)
In this photo released by the Chilean presidential press office, Chile's President Sebastian Pinera, fourth right, applauds while the capsule with the first rescued miner Florencio Avalos comes out from the collapsed San Jose gold and copper mine where he was trapped with 32 other miners for over two months near Copiapo, Chile, early Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010. (AP Photo/Jose Manuel de la Maza, Chilean presidential press office)
This undated photo released by Diario Atacama, shows miner Florencio Antonio Avalos Silva. According to Maria Silva, Avalos' mother, Chile's President Sebastian Pinera told her that her son will be the first miner to be pulled out of the mine. (AP Photo/Diario Atacama)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 12: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Mario Sepulveda (back to camera), 39, the second miner to exit the rescue capsule, is greeted October 12, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5th collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 12: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Mario Sepulveda, 39, the second miner to exit the rescue capsule, receives a hug October 12, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5th collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 13: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout provided by the Chilean government October 13, 2010, Manuel Gonzalez, a rescue specialist from Codelco, stands in the rescue capsule at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5th collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. Gonzalez was the first rescue worker to be lowered into the mine. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 13: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout provided by the Chilean government October 13, 2010, Manuel Gonzalez, a rescue specialist from Codelco, stands in the rescue capsule at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5th collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. Gonzalez was the first rescue worker to be lowered into the mine. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 12: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Mario Sepulveda, 39, is the second miner to exit the rescue capsule October 12, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5th collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 12: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Mario Sepulveda, 39, is the second miner to exit the rescue capsule October 12, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5th collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 12: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Mario Sepulveda, 39, the second miner to exit the rescue capsule, shakes hands with Chilean President Sebastian Pinera (R) October 12, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5th collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 12: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Mario Sepulveda, 39, is the second miner to exit the rescue capsule October 12, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5th collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
In this screen grab taken from video, Florencio Avalos, the first miner to be rescued, left, is embraced by Chilean President Sebastian Pinera after his rescue at San Jose Mine near Copiapo, Chile. (AP Photo)
In this screen grab taken from video, Florencio Avalos, the first miner to be rescued, center, is greeted after his rescue at San Jose Mine near Copiapo, Chile. (AP Photo)
In this screen grab taken from video, Florencio Avalos, the first miner to be rescued, center, is greeted after his rescue at San Jose Mine near Copiapo, Chile. (AP Photo)
Chile's President Sebastian Pinera embraces miner Florencio Avalos after he was rescued from the collapsed San Jose gold and copper mine where he was trapped with 32 other miners for over two months near Copiapo, Chile.(AP Photo/Roberto Candia)
Mining Minister Laurence Golborne and rescue chief Andre Sougarrete, right, hold hands as rescue worker Manuel Gonzalez Paves is lowered in the capsule into the mine where miners are trapped to begin the rescue at the San Jose Mine near Copiapo, Chile.(AP Photo/Roberto Candia)
In this screen grab taken from video, rescuer Manuel Gonzalez Pavez, second left, is greeted by the trapped miners at San Jose Mine near Copiapo, Chile.(AP Photo)
Relatives and friends of trapped miners celebrate while watching on a TV screen the rescue operation of Florencio Avalos at the camp outside the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile.
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 12: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera and Mining Minister Laurence Golborne stand with the family of Florencio Avalos while waiting for the trapped miner to exit the mine in the rescue capsule October 12, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5th collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 12: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera (L) and Mining Minister Laurence Golborne shake hands after Roberto Rios, a technical expert arrived at the bottom of the rescue hole October 12, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation has begun bringing up the 33 miners, 69 days after the August 5th collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
Patricio Sepulveda, a corporal of the police special operations unit, smiles after arriving at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile
In this screen grab taken from video, Mario Sepulveda Espina, the second miner to be rescued, celebrates at San Jose Mine near Copiapo, Chile. (AP Photo)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILI - OCTOBER 12: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera watches the first dry run of the descent of the unmanned rescue capsule October 12, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation could begin bringing up the 33 miners tonight, 69 days after the August 5th collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
This undated photo released as a courtesy by Diario Atacama, shows miner Mario Sepulveda Espina. According to rescuers Sepulveda will be the second miner to be pulled out of the mine late Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2010. (AP Photo/Diario Atacama)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 12: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Manuel Gonzalez, a rescue specialist from Codelco, prepares to be the first rescuer lowered into the mine in the unmanned rescue capsule October 12, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation could begin bringing up the 33 miners tonight, 69 days after the August 5th collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILE - OCTOBER 12: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Manuel Gonzalez, a rescue specialist from Codelco, prepares to be the first rescuer lowered into the mine in the unmanned rescue capsule October 12, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation could begin bringing up the 33 miners tonight, 69 days after the August 5th collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILI - OCTOBER 12: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera watches the first dry run of the descent of the unmanned rescue capsule October 12, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation could begin bringing up the 33 miners tonight, 69 days after the August 5th collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE MINE, CHILI - OCTOBER 12: (NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE) In this handout from the Chilean government, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera watches the first dry run of the descent of the unmanned rescue capsule October 12, 2010 at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile. The rescue operation could begin bringing up the 33 miners tonight, 69 days after the August 5th collapse that trapped them half a mile underground. (Photo by Hugo Infante/Chilean Government via Getty Images)
Jaime Manalich, Chile's health minister, has been closely monitoring the miners' mental and physical health (AP)
Chile's mining minister Laurence Golborne stands inside a capsule that will be used to rescue trapped miners (AP)
Drill operator Jeff Hart embraces Elizabeth Segovia, sister of trapped miner Dario Segovia Rojo, at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile (AP)
Chile's mining minister has said 33 men trapped for more than two months will probably start to be pulled out on Wednesday (AP)
Chile's First Lady Cecilia Morel, right, embraces a relative of a trapped miner outside the San Jose mine in Copiapo, Chile (AP)
Relatives of the trapped miners await further news of their rescue in Chile (AP)
The Plan B drill, one of three drills working in the rescue operation of 33 trapped miner in Chile (AP)
A relative shows on his mobile phone new images of the trapped miners in Copiapo, Chile (AP)
A man carries a Chilean flag during a small ceremony marking 60 days since 33 miners became trapped in Chile (AP)
Workers move a capsule that will be used to rescue trapped miners from the collapsed San Jose mine in Chile (AP)
Trapped miners inside the San Jose mine in Copiapo, Chile (AP)
Trapped miners celebrate Chile's independence bicentennial inside the San Jose mine in Copiapo, Chile (AP)
The camp where the relatives of 33 trapped miners are waiting in Copiapo, Chile
Some of the 33 trapped miners inside the San Jose mine in Copiapo, Chile (AP)

Drill bits made in Northern Ireland have been used in the rescue mission to free the 33 trapped Chilean miners.

But the accolades have come too late for workers at the Hughes Christensen factory in Belfast, who crafted the two vital 28” drill bits, some of the last items to roll off the production line at the Castlereagh plant which closed down in recent weeks.

The drill bits were a vital part of the rescue plan, which saw the miners being winched from their rocky prison after a cave-in 69 days previously.

The hi-tech hardware was used in a series of moves to free the trapped men and helped cut shafts to provide air and supplies.

In a statement earlier this year, the firm's parent company, Baker Hughes, said its operations would be transferred to its base in Texas with the loss of up to 210 jobs.

The factory had been in operation for 55 years making the cutting-edge drill bits.

The company had to make 135 people redundant in 2009, blaming a decline in the world market and leading to, ultimately well-founded, fears for its survival.

Production has wound down at the company over the last few weeks, at the same time as one of its last products was assisting in a rescue being watched by millions worldwide.

Like so many other Northern Ireland-made products, like De Lorean cars, Short’s aircraft and, of course, the Titanic, much of its fame has come after its passing.

Gary Flaharty, vice-president of investor relations at parent company Baker Hughes, said it was “with regret” that the factory was shut.

“We did ship two drill bits from Belfast to assist with the rescue in Chile,” he said.

Flaharty praised the skills of the Belfast workers who made the tool.

“It was with regret that we are leaving Belfast. The workers have been absolutely fantastic,” he added.

Castlereagh UUP councillor Michael Copeland called the situation “desperately sad”.

“We in this city and this country used to be pioneers,” he said.

“There is a continued leeching of talent and skill and heritage out of Northern Ireland and I find it desperately sad.”

Iconic creations that emerged from Belfast

Northern Ireland has produced some world famous, instantly recognisable and iconic brands over the years .

Here are just a few.

Since 1936, Shorts in east Belfast manufactured aircraft but now makes mostly parts and components as Bombardier Shorts Inc. The factory was sold to Bombardier in 1989 for £30m.

In its heyday, the Short Sunderland seaplane built in Belfast became famous as an anti-submarine patrol bomber during the Second World War when its long range and flying time helped end the Battle of Britain by closing the Mid-Atlantic air gap between Iceland and Greenland.

The DeLorean DMC-12 car was manufactured in Northern Ireland by the DeLorean Motor Company in 1981-1982. It became famous for its appearance in the Back to the Future films. By then the Dunmurry factory where it was made had shut.

Perhaps Northern Ireland’s best known export was RMS Titanic, which rolled out of the dry dock at Harland and Wolff in 1912. Infamously, she sank on her maiden voyage.

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