Friday, October 15, 2010

Los 33

I've just spent the last 2 days pretty much glued to the BBC live feed coverage of the Miners' Rescue. 

(Watching it, of course, stirred memories of another Big Mine Rescue story, Beaconsfield, in 2006.  I  remember watching that live, and counting down the hours beforehand until Brant Webb and Todd Russell were freed.  I remember too how wonderful it was when they walked out of the mine, having stated firmly that they didn't want stretchers or wheelchairs.  And I think it was one of those moments when the country 'came together' as it were, everyone hoping for a happy ending to their ordeal and feeling so glad that it came to be; but I don't think we were as staunchly and overtly patriotic as the Chileans, who burst into their national anthem when the last miner emerged and shouted Chi Chi Chi Le Le Le repeatedly through the 23 hour rescue.  Pretty sure nobody burst into Advance Australia Fair at Beaconsfield, although it's possible someone shouted Aussie Aussie Aussie Oy Oy Oy.)  

I read an article saying that this story resonated so strongly worldwide because it tapped into so many universal fears, particularly fears to do with being trapped: trapped an impossible depth underground, trapped without fresh air, trapped without light or food, and I think chillingly, trapped in a situation where nobody might ever find you.  The rescue coverage was compelling, a good news story that went on and on, and never got boring, or less touching, as you watched man after man emerge from the capsule and re-unite with waiting, anxious families. It was a beautiful, moving story about hope fulfilled.

I thought the rescuers who went down into the mine to help the trapped miners were so brave too, especially the last man who had to wait all alone and strap himself into Fenix 2.  I loved that he gave that last bow to the camera before he clambered awkwardly aboard. 


  1. I understand that fear - I can't imagine waiting till last, I'd be terrified that they would forget me.
    It really is beyond comprehension , so much time underground....

  2. I kept thinking about the seventeen days before they were located.

    That would have taken mental toughness in the extreme to get through

  3. I agree with everything you said.

    The last rescuer out was also the first rescuer (and person) to climb into the capsule. Nobody knew if that thing would make it with human weight in it. He, in my opinion, is the ultimate hero of the whole ordeal.

    Everyone who was involved in the rescue operation, including the engineers who came up with the brilliant plan, need to never doubt they are heroes.

    "Hero" is a word thrown around way too much. I heard it numerous times over the Commonwealth games when someone won a medal. Pfft. They are athletes, it's what they do.They saved nobody's life. Didn't endanger their own in a perilous situation.

    Sorry, you got me on my soapbox, maybe I should start my own blog. :)

  4. Well said Aunty! And did you see Manuel Gonzalez's bow before he ascended? I wanted to stand and cheer then.

  5. Like Mary, I keep imagining those 17 days they endured before they knew help was on its way. God.

  6. I was totally choked up when I watched the first miner get reunited with his son, what a moment of raw emotion.


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