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Chilean miners finally rescued

By: Lauren Harper

The chilean miners were rescued on Tuesday after spending 69 days underground. Photo courtesy of Google images

After a devastating mine collapse on August 5 in San Jose, Chile, the 33 miners that were affected thankfully survived, but were left stranded over a mile underground. Finally, after 69 days beneath earth, the miners were retrieved from their underground prison.

            The rescue took up to an hour for each miner, with time taken for the miner to load into the escape pod, ten to fifteen minutes for them to ascend to the surface of the earth, and then another twenty-five to thirty minutes for the cage to descend back down into the earth to retrieve another miner. The entire rescue took around 48 hours. The shaft in which the thirteen-foot pod traveled was 2,041 feet, and due to its tight, claustrophobic aspects, panic attacks occurring in the miners was the biggest fear the rescuers had. The rescue capsule was outfitted with body restraints for the miners, oxygen, an escape hatch, and was approximately 23 inches wide.

            The miners’ vital signs were monitored closely throughout their trip back to the surface of the earth. A camera was focused on the miners to ensure that they were not having panic attacks, and they were prepared for the ride with compression socks and aspirin to prevent blood clots. There is a big difference between the 90 degree heat of the underground cavern and the cold temperatures of the Chilean atmosphere at night, so some of them wore sweaters. Others received sunglasses if they arrived during the day.

            The first miners to come out were those expected to best handle the situation and reassure their comrades that everything would be okay. After the first four were those with medical difficulties, which included the ten who either had diabetes, hypertension, infection, or skin lesions. The last miner to come out was Luiz Urzua, the group’s shift foreman. Urzua is credited for effectively rationing the emergency food to last the men seventeen days until they were able to tell the world that they were still alive and is ultimately praised for keeping the men alive during that period of time. “He’s a very good guy- he keeps everybody’s spirits up and is so responsible- he’s going to see this through to the end,” Angelica Vicencio stated, Urzua’s neighbor. The order of the men coming out was Florencio Avalos, Mario Sepulveda, Juan Illanes, Carlos Mamani, Jimmy Sanchez, Osmon Araya, Jose Ojeda, Claudio Yanez, Mario Gomez, Alex Vega, Jorge Galleguillos, Edison Pena, Carlos Barrios, Victor Zamora, Victor Segovia, Daniel Herrera, Omar Reygada, Esteban Rojos, Pablo Rojas, Dario Segovia, Yonni Barrios, Samuel Avalos, Carlos Bugueno, Jose Enriquez, Renan Avalos, Claudio Acuna, Franklin Lobos, Richard Villaroel, Juan Carlos Aguilar, Raul Bustos, Pedro Cortez, Ariel Ticona, and Luis Urzua.

            Once each miner got to the surface, they were immediately given medical attention. They then were rushed to a nearby hospital where two entire floors had been reserved for the miners so that they could be fully assessed both physically and psychologically. Families of the miners anxiously awaited the return of their loved ones, and the mission was successful.

  1. Todo el mundo feliz hizo a salvo.

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