Thursday, October 14, 2010

They All Made It Out Alive

One. Then another. And another.

The world watched as one by one, the 33 miners trapped a half mile underground in a Chilean mine were rescued. The 54-year-old shift captain was the last one out.

They were trapped down there for two months but perhaps the worst part was that for the first two weeks, they had no communication with the outside world and therefore had no idea if rescue attempts were being made; and rescuers did not know if the trapped miners were alive. The 33 miners somehow made 2 days of emergency rations last for the 17 days it took for them to be located and various methods were improvised to enable food and medical supplies to reach them.

Here are a few of my observations about the whole thing:

• It took 15 to 60 minutes to bring up each miner. During that time each man was in that small cage-like ‘basket’, in the dark, ascending through a tunnel just inches bigger than the basket that was dug through the same rock that caved in on them. Claustrophobia specialists will be studying this for years.

• A mining expert and a paramedic were lowered into the mine first; then each of the miners was lifted back out, one at a time. That means that at one point there were 35 people down there, not just 33. I wonder how the last guy down there felt while waiting for the basket to come back down to get him.

• One of the miners became a father during the ordeal and the President of Chile was at the mine to greet hims when he was rescued. How many once-in-a-lifetime experiences can a person handle at one time?

• Another miner asked that both his wife and his mistress be there to greet him; the wife declined the invitation.

• Many, if not all of the families of each miner made a pact with each other to remain together till all of the miners were rescued. That is an awesome example of solidarity.

I am impressed and pleased by the positive, global emotion that resulted from the continuous live news coverage. For one brief moment, the world united to celebrate a good thing. It is sad that it takes a tragedy to bring us all together.

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