Chilean Copper Mine Collapse
Disaster Strikes a Chilean Mine
On August 5, 2010, employees of Minera San Esteban Primera woke up, stretched out, bathed, ate breakfast, and walked around their assuredly modest homes. They said their casual goodbyes to family as they headed off to yet another dark day at work deep in the San Jose copper mine in northern Chile. Little did they know it would be the last time for nearly two months they would see the light of day. These same blessings of life they most likely took for granted earlier that day - to be able to stretch out, to bathe, to eat, and to walk around in the comfort of their own homes - would be taken from them ...view middle of the document...
The miners were able to inform those above how they were faring. Upon hearing of her husband's well being, Liliana Ramirez said "her message was that she wished him the strength to resist until they can be rescued, and that she loved him" (Hughes, 2010).
Over the next two months, the miners trapped nearly half a mile below the surface endured trying circumstances. Food supply was extremely limited. Water was obtained from the mine's storage tanks that survived the collapse. Sugars, water, and liquid nutrients were sent down to the trapped miners from the surface via tiny bore holes (Barrionuevo, 2011). Risks of additional cave-ins were always present. In fact, just days after the initial search and rescue efforts had begun a second cave-in occurred suspending relief efforts for several hours (Weik, 2010).
After nearly two months of being fed by a virtual umbilical cord, overcoming claustrophobia, and wondering if they'd ever see their friends and family again, late in the evening of October 12, 2010, the first miner ascended to the surface and to safety. One by one the remaining 32 miners were lifted through the rescue shaft and were greeted by cheers, hugging, crying, and feelings of elation.
The story of the trapped Chilean miners (which actually consisted of 32 Chileans and one Bolivian) was a story that gripped the world. More than 1,400 journalists were present to witness the final rescue operation (Barrionuevo, 2011). Seemingly every race, color, tongue, and ethnicity was engaged one way or another, hoping and praying for a positive outcome. Amid all of the news-worthy stories that capture the audience's attention with their negative trauma-like effect the story of the trapped and rescued Chilean miners stands out. This was a story that united nations. This was a story that was bigger than the color of one's skin, the language one speaks, or the country one calls home. This was a story about the love of mankind, about teamwork, about sacrifice, and about the basic struggle for survival. Final score: Mankind-1, Adversity-0.
Barrionuevo, A. (2011). Chile Mining Accident (2010). http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/c/chile_mining_accident_2010/index.html
Hughes, H. (2010). 33 Trapped Chilean Miners Found Alive, But Could Be Stuck 4 Months. http://abcnews.go.com/International/33-trapped-chilean-miners-found-alive-stuck-months/story?id=11457872
Weik, J. (2010). Over 30 workers trapped after Chilean copper mine collapse. Metal Bulletin Daily, (224), 65.
Memo to Families of Employees of Minera San Esteban...