Wednesday, October 13, 2010

33 brave men

I can't let today pass by without a mention for the 33 brave miners who were trapped 2300 ft underground in a collapsed mine in Chile, since August 5th (69 days). The whole rescue effort from start to finish has been amazing and I've been glued to the TV and the internet at every opportunity, following the events in real time.

For 17 days the miners were cut off entirely, with no light, minimal food and little hope of rescue. The shift leader, Luis Urzua established rationing of the food they had. They survived on 2 spoonfuls of tuna, half a biscuit and a cup of milk every 48hrs. And then a vital link was established through a bore hole no wider than a grapefruit. The men attached a note to a microphone probe saying that all 33 men were in the shelter and were well.

That single event initiated a number of extensive drilling efforts, with one of the drills ("Plan B") finally breaking through into the shaft where the men were. The rescue operation to winch the men throough the shaft to safety started yesterday evening and culminated tonight with all 33 men rescued safely.

What an amazing, emotional event to witness, and today's technology meant that we not only had media coverage at the surface, but could also see the scenes below the surface in the mine.  What the miners must've been thinking as this rescue effort progressed is anybody's guess. I was very happy to see the last man emerge safely. It is definitely something that people will be talking about for a long time to come.

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