Rescue in Chile: Success

The third miner has just surfaced. If you aren't watching, turn it on. It's heartwarming and real. Everyone is calm and joyous.

The President and First Lady of Chile are right there, they seem so down to earth and connected to the relatives, the workers and the miners. Watching the President physically bear-hug the miners as they emerge is amazing. His smile is a mile wide.

The emotion on everyone's faces is palpable. It's rare to see such expressions of pure joy these days.

A lot of expertise and planning went into this rescue and it shows. Congratulations, Chile (and those from other countries who helped.) You've done yourselves proud. The world is watching and we are all impressed and smiling with you.

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    Sometimes, I don't think we realize (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by Anne on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 07:12:42 AM EST
    how saturated we are with what's wrong in the world until we see something that could have been a terrible tragedy end as successfully as this did, and well before the original anticipated rescue date.

    I can only imagine the utter relief and joy the miners and their families - and their rescuers - must be feeling, and am just thrilled for all of them.

    I guess if you're a miner, you're not dealing with feelings of claustrophobia, but as someone whose tolerance for confinement is limited - I think it's a control thing, actually, where I don't like it when I'm not the one who determines when a particular situation ends - I have barely been able to think about the whole thing - even shuddered at the idea of being placed in that tiny capsule and spending 15 or more minutes making my way to the surface - ugh.  Pretty sure though, that if the choice were between the capsule-to-the-surface or the mile-below-the-surface mine, I'd have figured out a way to tolerate the former to escape that latter!

    Cheers to all involved - job well done!

    All 33 miners rescued (5.00 / 2) (#51)
    by MO Blue on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 08:21:42 PM EST
    and back with their families. What an achievement. The last miner up made the point that this needed to be prevented in the future.

    Bravo Chile.

    First rescue worker ready to ascent to surface. 5 more to go and the workers can celebrate and sleep for days.


    The message from our middle daughter, (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by Peter G on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 09:01:29 AM EST
    who recently spent a semester in Chile, reads, "CHI! CHI!! CHI!!!  LE! LE!! LE!!!"

    All's well that ends well... (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by kdog on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 09:03:55 AM EST
    gotta love a happy ending and people coming together to make a happy ending.  Good stuff.

    I got a kick out of hearing that they started out sending down nicotine patches for the trapped smoking miners, and the smoking miners were like "give us a break down here", then the rescue crew relented and started sending down the real McCoy.  The right decision, imo...must been nerve-racking enough trapped in that hole, never mind trapped with no smokes.

    Many hours and miners to go (5.00 / 3) (#15)
    by Cream City on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 11:26:47 AM EST
    so we need to keep sending good kdog karma southward so that all does end well.  I am so enjoying the sight of each miner surfacing . . . but I also have read about so much that could go wrong.  One dislodged rock is all it takes to jam the mechanism.  

    I am awed by not just the mechanism (from the U.S.) but also the worldwide assistance (including from NASA) to psychologically prepare the miners for the trip up in the capsule -- for the claustrophobia and the fear as it actually has to rotate around curves (thus the special diet to help prevent illness and panic).  And there is more, much more, that had to be anticipated.  

    I think that the head of mining in Chile really is to be congratulated for resisting a lot of push to do this too soon -- and, therefore, to the president of Chile for not being part of that push, not politicizing this.  And I am especially awed by the almost half-dozen medicos and others who volunteered to head down there to help prepare the miners for the trip.  

    These volunteers are real heroes, with all that could go wrong, now that I have read the long list of possible problems. . . .

    So I am keeping the teebee on all day, while I work, in case we all need to send worldwide kdog karma to Chile that all will end well.  


    Good point... (none / 0) (#18)
    by kdog on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 11:48:32 AM EST
    don't wanna jinx it when we're so close to a successful rescue operation...my bad.

    yeah (none / 0) (#9)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 09:26:04 AM EST
    wouldnt have happened in an american mine I think

    Thought crossed my mind... (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by kdog on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 09:31:53 AM EST
    if somebody got trapped in say an abandoned NYC subway tunnel...would Bloomie allow them soda and cigs or treat them like a lab rat for "healthy living" experiments? :)

    My mind, too -- (none / 0) (#16)
    by Cream City on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 11:41:02 AM EST
    amid my disgust at the do-gooders who put a guy facing death and incredible discomfort through withdrawal, too.  And I thought that the Puritans only screwed up this country.  

    I think they came around pretty quick.. (none / 0) (#19)
    by kdog on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 11:50:05 AM EST
    and saw the error in making things more uncomfortable than they need be for the trapped miners.

    Now, to allow smoking again in our confined spaces called prisons.


    Winstons taste like a (none / 0) (#22)
    by SOS on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 12:00:41 PM EST
    cigarette should. Yip everyone's got their drug these days.  

    Here is your Chilean counterpart, kdog (none / 0) (#27)
    by MO Blue on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 12:35:01 PM EST
    8. 7:02 a.m.(order & time of rescue) - Claudio Yanez, 34, is a drill operator who requested cigarettes be sent down while awaiting rescue and expressed disgust at the nicotine patches he received instead.

    My brother from another mother.... (none / 0) (#31)
    by kdog on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 12:54:08 PM EST
    Disgust was the proper expression to such a gesture:)

    I just hope there is a bush doctor at the ready topside too bearing gifts...time for these guys to relax and celebrate.


    Looks like the oldest miner and those (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by MO Blue on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 10:09:55 AM EST
    with health problems have been transported safely to the surface. I was concerned about them and am glad to see that they are now able to be looked after properly. Here is a list of who has been rescued. It is the most current that I could find.

    The roster of the rescued at Chilean mine  

    i am amazed (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by cpinva on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 08:13:10 PM EST
    they were able to keep these guys alive, for as long as it took to finally get them out. kudos to both the rescuers and the miners, for a heartning display of mental fortitude.

    chile, ya done good!

    Really incredible (none / 0) (#1)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 12:36:12 AM EST
    They all seem to have done everything exactly right from start to finish.

    Yes, incredible...and, then some (5.00 / 2) (#43)
    by christinep on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 03:03:03 PM EST
    A previous mining leader from this country had said that, for this to work, the rescuers had to be very good and there had to be good luck as well.  Well, sometimes good things happen; and, sometimes that is so when we all need it (seeing and believing) most.

    Resilience and redemption. A miracle, really....


    This is so true (none / 0) (#2)
    by MO Blue on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 12:44:54 AM EST
    WASHINGTON--A global audience watched captivated on Wednesday as the first of 33 miners trapped for a record 68 days deep underground emerged into the cold night air of Chile's Atacama desert.

    People logged on and tuned in to read, watch and listen as Florencio Avalos was successfully extracted from the depths of the San Jose mine at 0310 GMT (11:10 am Manila time), followed by co-worker Mario Sepulveda exactly one hour later.
    Wellwishers from every corner of the globe, ranging in status from fellow miners to heads of state, have turned their attention on the remote site. link

    perhaps its the cynic in me (none / 0) (#6)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 08:45:05 AM EST
    but while I dont doubt that the people "tuning in" were well wishers for the most part I dont believe for a second that is why most of the news people are there.  I believe many or even most of them are there hoping for something more exciting to cover.

    like disaster.  just MO.


    I don't agree. This story is the (5.00 / 3) (#11)
    by observed on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 09:51:14 AM EST
    Kursk with a happy ending, and I thought that was the most horrifying disaster story ever. I could not bear to watch that news.

    not surprising (none / 0) (#12)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 10:07:03 AM EST
    we love happy endings dont we.  but the fact is the news vultures would have gotten ten times as many eyes and milked it for weeks if there had been a disaster.  

    dont get me wrong (none / 0) (#14)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 11:04:40 AM EST
    Im sure there are many many happy people as a result of this.  people everywhere seemed to need some good news.

    that changes in no way my opinion of the real reason the news truck were there.


    Ah, c'mon Capt Howdy (none / 0) (#44)
    by christinep on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 03:07:23 PM EST
    There is nothing so powerful as believing, hoping, and acting. We should just ask those about-to-be legendary miners.
    Cynicism strangles. And, it feels horrible, as if you are already gone. Take heart!

    You have only to see the excitement (none / 0) (#48)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 06:07:48 PM EST
    and exuberance and euphoria of the reporters on the scene to know that at least they think this is a much better story than a disaster would have been.

    The news biz loves it some heroes, and there are dozens and dozens of them to plumb for upbeat and human interest and even sci/tech stories for weeks and weeks to come.

    It's frankly silly to think Da Media wasn't interested in this story for itself but just hoping for disaster.  Good grief.


    Makes me think of those (none / 0) (#55)
    by jondee on Thu Oct 14, 2010 at 12:19:33 PM EST
    stories that were going around about Capote being worried that Perry and Dick wouldn't be hanged and thus sabotage the ending of his morbid, little libretto.

    Btw, Does anyone know if state-owned mining operations rely on the same kind of mine safety cost-benefit-analysis models popular amongst the reptilian deregulation-or-bust Libertarian and Free Trade crowd?


    They are getting ready to send the (none / 0) (#3)
    by MO Blue on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 12:55:35 AM EST
    Bolivian, Solis, up to the surface. I think that four miners who are not in good health are scheduled after Solis.

    So nice to wake up to good news (none / 0) (#4)
    by ruffian on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 06:29:28 AM EST
    Went to sleep as they were preparing to send the paramedic down.

    So happy for the miners and the flawless rescue team.

    Per CNN commentator the 17th miner, (none / 0) (#17)
    by MO Blue on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 11:48:11 AM EST
    Omar Reygadas, has been in two other cave ins. Hopefully none of the miners will have to go back into the mines after this ordeal.

    All were promised (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Cream City on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 11:53:16 AM EST
    that they would not have to go belowground again, I read -- and already have had sizeable sums put in their bank accounts.  That helped the families live during this time to ease the miners' minds as well.

    I had to wonder whether an American mining conglomerate would have done any of the above.

    In part, the respect for the miners there may arise from quite a difference in our cultures -- as mining there, I read, is prestigious and well-paid work.  Having married into a family of some West Virginians, I know how different it is here. . . .


    The San José mine, in particular, is no stranger to workplace tragedy: over a dozen lives have been lost there in recent years.

    Bélgica Ramírez, sister-in-law of one of the trapped miners, suggested that even if workers did express their concerns, they were ignored.

    "The mine was in precarious condition and they [the miners] always told the bosses, but the only thing they cared about was production," she said.

    In early September, a Guardian report revealed that "the dangers were so well known that locals called its miners 'the kamikazes'."

    glowing discritpion of Chile's mining industry Even the owners of the mine recognised the dangers, offering "salaries 30% higher than average, a tacit acknowledgement that the job required extraordinary sacrifices".

    Chilean miners' families 'go hungry' amid pay freeze

    The 33 Chilean miners trapped underground may not be paid for months while rescuers try to reach them, leaving their families above with no income.

    By Nick Allen in Los Angeles
    Published: 6:17PM BST 31 Aug 2010

    Relatives of 33 trapped miners wait for news outside the collapsed mine San Jose in Copiapo, Chile Photo: PA The San Esteban mining company that operates the facility has said it has no money to pay wages and is not even participating in the rescue.

    It has suggested it may go bankrupt and its licence has been suspended by the government.

    For many mine owners, it is more profitable to pay fines for breaking mine safety rules than to invest in improving safety conditions for their workers.

    It should be added that bribery of low-paid government officials is standard operating procedure for Chilean capitalists.

    Such a (none / 0) (#49)
    by Cream City on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 06:08:55 PM EST

    This does contradict what I had read, so I will continue to read closely on the financial setup.

    On the accident level, I figured as much.  The first accident we hear about hardly ever is the first accident.  Ask anyone in a mining family, an oil-rigging family, a construction family, etc. (all are in our family, with horror stories).


    Sorry, it got lost in the body my comment (none / 0) (#52)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 08:23:14 PM EST
    somehow: such a glowing discription of Chile's mining industry.

    Well, no -- (none / 0) (#53)
    by Cream City on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 10:40:11 PM EST
    as one act hardly constitutes a description of an industry.  

    But that's how you want to see it, and I don't care, so: fine.


    incident will be the catalyst of major positive changes and improvements in Chile's labor system, let's hope it is successful.
    [Chilean President] Piñera also reiterated that he will "in the next few days" introduce a proposal to make sweeping changes in workplace rules to insure against "insecure and inhumane conditions like those that existed at the San Jose mine."

    Those measures would increase inspections and raise standards not just in mining but in farming, fishing, transportation and other industries.

    I heard that the President of Bolivia (none / 0) (#23)
    by MO Blue on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 12:02:07 PM EST
    said that the Bolivian miner, Carlos Mamani, would be given some land.

    It does raise those questions, CC (none / 0) (#45)
    by christinep on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 03:12:28 PM EST
    The mining company in Chile is the state-owned operation Codelco.

    Good for them (none / 0) (#21)
    by SOS on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 11:56:02 AM EST
    Must be nice living in a country that knows how to do things right.

    As the world's top producer of copper (5.00 / 2) (#32)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 12:55:43 PM EST
    As the world's top producer of copper, Chile boasts a technologically advanced metals extraction industry.

    But the company that owns the mine, San Esteban, and the National Mining and Geology Service have been criticized for not complying with regulations, according to the Associated Press.

    A prior explosion at the site killed two people in 2007, Golborne said Tuesday in an interview on the state TV news network.

    The mine shouldn't have reopened until there was an escape route, he said.

    "There is not going to be any impunity," said President Piñera, who has already fired two mine safety regulators and said further investigations are under way.

    Now, once home (none / 0) (#24)
    by SOS on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 12:02:23 PM EST
    they'll need to plan for Good Morning America, the movies deals, book deals, monetizing the LoVe.

    Seems like they are working on the (none / 0) (#25)
    by MO Blue on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 12:11:04 PM EST
    door to the capsule. Looks like it doesn't want to stay closed. IIRC they had a small bit of trouble with the door during the last bit of testing. According to the mine minister the door had a slight defect from the beginning. Also, all the most fragile miners (10) have been brought up without incident. They are thinking that they might get all the miners out tonight.

    Quite the pickle... (none / 0) (#26)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 12:12:03 PM EST

    Oops! Trapped miner's wife & gal pal meet

    One of the trapped Chilean miners is in no rush to be rescued -- because both his wife and his longtime mistress will be waiting for him when he finally sees the light of day.

    Neither woman was aware of the other's existence until they met at a candlelight vigil for the miners, The Sun newspaper of Britain reported.

    Yonni Barrios' wife, Marta Salinas, was shocked to hear another woman shouting her husband's name at the gathering held to support the 33 men who are trapped 2,300 feet underground, the paper said.

    They compared notes and figured out that they both had been shafted.

    Despite feeling "horrified" about her husband's cheating ways, Salinas, 56, has told friends she still plans to welcome Barrios, 50, back with open arms once he's freed, the paper said.

    "Barrios is my husband. He loves me and I am his devoted wife," she said.

    But she's not the only one who feels that way.

    Susana Valenzuela, who's been his mistress for five years, insists she'll always be his soul mate.

    "We are in love. I'll wait for him," she told The Sun.

    Salinas clawed back at her rival, refusing to address Valenzuela by name.

    "This woman has no legitimacy," she hissed.

    What a mess (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by sj on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 12:36:38 PM EST
    Nothing like playing this out in public.  Feel bad for all of them.

    Yony Barrios is the next one (none / 0) (#36)
    by MO Blue on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 02:06:45 PM EST
    to be rescued. Number 21.

    I think in a show of solidarity (none / 0) (#38)
    by ruffian on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 02:19:10 PM EST
    all of the women at the top should show Yonni some love. We are all Yonni's women today!

    Info on subject other than his (none / 0) (#39)
    by MO Blue on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 02:30:52 PM EST
    love life.

    Yonni Barrios Rojas, 50, played nurse to his comrades in the mine.

    She pushed him in the hole! (none / 0) (#40)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 02:37:08 PM EST
    Just kidding. (none / 0) (#41)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 02:37:32 PM EST
    Very sweet, actually.

    Well, there you go, 'twas the mistress who (none / 0) (#47)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 04:52:18 PM EST
    greeted Tonni at his rescue.
    As Barrios was hoisted back to the surface, the world watched to see what kind of welcome he would receive. The mistress, Valenzuela, greeted him with a warm embrace.

    At least five wives have found themselves dealing with mistresses at the rescue site, The Daily Telegraph said.

    This isn't just a cause for embarrassment: Some women are fighting over the compensation on offer to the miners.

    A paramedic, I heard (none / 0) (#42)
    by Cream City on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 02:56:55 PM EST
    and they look so healthy that he did well.

    But back to info on his love life, word from Chile is that he and his wife have been separated for years -- and it is a country and culture that prefers the fiction of such marriages to divorce.


    Ru-roh Reorge! (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by kdog on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 01:00:11 PM EST
    Though I guess it's the best case scenario problem the guy could have at this point...I predict un beso y un abrazo followed by a lot of explaining to do.

    Yonni, you got some splainin to do! (none / 0) (#34)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 01:02:20 PM EST
    As I recall, (5.00 / 2) (#35)
    by Zorba on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 01:19:40 PM EST
    Way back in the 90's, when former French President Mitterrand died, both his wife and his mistress (and both sets of children) attended his funeral.  But perhaps Chileans aren't quite so forgiving as the French.  Oh, heck, I'm not Chilean, and I wouldn't be terribly forgiving, whether my husband was dead or alive.  And, perhaps, if he were still alive, he might wish he were dead, but then, I'm of Greek extraction, and Greeks know how to carry grudges.   ;-)

    hey (none / 0) (#29)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 12:50:24 PM EST
    if the potential governor of NY can be raising children with two women . . . .

    Or a US senator/VP candidate... (none / 0) (#30)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 12:52:59 PM EST
    Both Yonni and Susan better stand well away (none / 0) (#37)
    by ruffian on Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 02:09:36 PM EST
    from the very deep hole in the ground...