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October 12, 2010 [LINK / comment]
Chilean miners are rescued!
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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January 18, 2010 Earthquake leaves Haiti in ruins
January 18, 2010 Our new governor: Bob McDonnell!
January 29, 2010 Obama: "We can do it together"
February 27, 2010 Huge earthquake strikes Chile
March 20, 2010 Procedural ploy to pass Obamacare
March 21, 2010 House passes Senate's Obamacare*
March 29, 2010 Rebuilding a Republican majority
March 31, 2010 Augusta County GOP reunites (for now)
May 11, 2010 R.I.P. Yankee Stadium (1923-2010)
May 17, 2010 Did Tories win British election?
May 18, 2010 The final mission for Atlantis?
June 9, 2010 Strasburg makes a historic debut
June 24, 2010 Nationals sweep the Royals (almost)
August 5, 2010 Ballpark blitz: 4 stadiums in 2 days!
August 14, 2010 Friday the 13th: Nats get lucky
August 19, 2010 "Ground Zero mosque" hysteria
September 15, 2010 Tea Party triumphs in Delaware
September 17, 2010 The U.S. Constitution and Freedom
September 27, 2010 Nationals spoil Braves' hopes, again
October 6, 2010 Photo gallery extreme makeover
October 27, 2010 Tempests in the Tea Party
November 3, 2010 Decision 2010: two cheers for the GOP
November 5, 2010 San Francisco Giants: world champions!
November 27, 2010 Goodbye to Luciano, and to Olive
December 6, 2010 Nationals sign Jayson Werth
December 29, 2010 Extreme weather disrupts sporting events
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