A Salute to Chile’s Phenomenally Successful Mining Rescue

Just now, after almost 24 hours of non-stop trips by the Phoenix (Fénix) Capsule, the last of the 33 Chilean miners has just emerged from 70 days of entombment in the bowels of the earth in the Chilean desert. Chile has gone wild with joy and pride and celebrations. The rest of the world is joyous and open-mouthed at the epic feat. Four or five helpers remain 625 metres below ground and are now being brought up one by one, but, barring accidents, this magnificent and inspiring Chilean and international enterprise has succeeded.

Psychologists explain the intense public interest in the miners’ plight by attributing it to our atavistic fear of being buried alive. Maybe, but perhaps it is more likely that our interest and attitudes are triggered by our sadness and rage that our loved ones (like ourselves), once dead and buried, do NOT (and cannot possibly) come back “to the surface” of the Earth. These 33 courageous and mentally strong men have done just that and so, having shared a little of their intense angst and apprehension, we are overjoyed that death has been cheated in this epic way and that they are reunited with their grieving families – who, unlike other mourners, can now stop grieving. The men, with the support of their countrymen and families, have achieved the impossible, especially through their own monumental courage and endurance. They deserve to be “happy ever after”.

For the record: The distance covered by the capsule on its 33 mercy runs (625 metres each way) is just over 40 kilometres (25 miles). Fénix (and its valuable potential for future rescues) can now be examined and stored away, and the miners and their families can now undertake a period of well-earned rest and recuperation from their ordeal.

With special thanks to the BBC for its non-stop coverage for the world to witness this extraordinary event.

Here is the first reaction by Chile’s major newspaper (El Mercurio) to the beginning of the arduous 34 hour operation:

“Luego de 69 días de angustia a casi 700 metros de profundidad:
Chile conmueve al mundo al iniciar con éxito el mayor rescate en la historia de la minería.”

“¡Fue posible! A las 00:12 horas salió Florencio Ávalos, el primero de los 33 mineros.”
*
“After 69 anxious days nearly 700 metres underground:
Chile moves the world with a successful beginning to the greatest rescue attempt in mining history.”

“It was possible! At midnight Francisco Avalos, the first of the 33 miners, reached the surface.”
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