Unless you’ve been living under a rock you have probably heard about the Chilean Miners who were trapped in the San José Mine for 17 days before they were “found” by drilling a tiny bore hole into their refuge 2300 feet underground. Finally, 69 days later, they are being pulled out from the bowels of the earth, one by one, through a tube no more than 2 feet wide, in a capsule called The Phoenix (or El Fénix, if you’re speaking Spanish). You can go to almost any International News site (that link is to CNN) and see coverage of the rescue.
It was really emotional to see the first miner rescued last night. I was on the verge of falling asleep around 11:00pm and considered hitting the hay, but I’m so glad I forced myself to stay awake until 12:10am, when the first miner came out. I can’t even describe the sensation of seeing the capsule come out of the ground and then soon after, the first miner, Florencio Avalos, step out and hug his wife and son. Apparently the second miner was a bit more entertaining (he brought rocks up from the mine as gifts!), but by that point I was fast asleep.
As I write this, the 14th miner has just been rescued. It looks like the rescue effort might take less time than anticipated.
I’m so amazed at the combination of technology and cooperation that facilitated the miners’ rescue. And I’m so grateful for the authorities working on this project, that they didn’t lose faith and these 33 men are (or soon will be) reunited with their families. And not to forget the miners themselves, who through a strict regimen were able to maintain their physical and mental health for SIXTY NINE days underground. I know that I couldn’t have done it.
The miners still have a long road ahead. My thoughts are with them as they begin to recover and are bombarded by the press. Also, I hope that among the fanfare and joy we don’t forget the reason why this happened in the first place. Along with being heroes, the miners are also victims of dangerous working conditions. Hopefully the authorities have learned from this and will improve regulations for smaller mining operations.
But for now, Viva Chile! and Vivan los mineros!