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October 12, 2010 [LINK / comment]

Chilean miners are rescued!

Chile flag At about 11:12 PM EDT, Florencio Avalos, became the first of the 33 Chilean miners to be rescued. He reached the surface in a capsule, and was greeted by his son, his wife, and the president of Chile, Sebastian Piñera. I was watching the event live on Spanish-language TV, and it was a mesmerizing experience sharing in the anticipation with people from Chile and around the world. It almost reminded me of the Apollo 13 mission, where technical ingenuity and dauntless human spirit overcome bleak odds of survival. For the next several hours, Avalos's comrades at the San Jose mine will be lifted, one by one, out of the slightly inclined shaft, which is nearly a half mile deep. They await a hero's welcome all across Chile, and they are already preparing to embark on a world tour.

Since the mine shaft collapsed on August 5, miners' relatives and rescue workers have set up a virtual tent city at the mine, standing vigil and refusing to succumb to despair. On Saturday, the drill reached the chamber where the miners are located, after which it was just a matter of time to set up the escape capsule and winch. Progress went much faster than earlier estimated, when some people said the miners might not be rescued until late November or even December. As the relief hole approached the miners over the past few days, preparations for a big fiesta have been in full swing. Time to celebrate! See the Washington Post. A photo gallery of the rescue can be seen at El Mercurio Online.

The people of Chile deserve to be proud of their engineering skills and social solidarity. There seems to be very little finger-pointing or political posturing, and the amazing episode seems to have bridged class differences. Religious faith, and the hope of Divine Providence, clearly played a big part in keeping up the spirits of the miners, and of their families. Disasters, whether natural or manmade, always have the potential to either bring a people together or tear them apart. The nation of Chile has emerged stronger from this trial.

Posted (or last updated or commented upon): 13 Oct 2010, 12: 00 AM

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Blog highlights have been compiled for the years 2010-2012 thus far, and eventually will be compiled for earlier years, back to 2002.


The "home made" blog organization system that I created was instituted on November 1, 2004, followed by several functional enhancements in subsequent years. I make no more than one blog post per day on any one category, so some posts may cover multiple news items or issues. Blog posts appear in the following (reverse alphabetical) order, which may differ from the chronological order in which the posts were originally made:

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