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The Chilean Miner Rescue: An Incredible Story of Human Survival

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People around the world held their breath. It’s a remarkable story.

On August 5th, thirty-three men became trapped in a gold and copper mine in San Jose, Chile. The mine caved in, leaving them all trapped.

For an incredible sixty-nine days, they’ve stayed alive, and relatively sane. Their eyes became accustomed to the darkness, and somehow they’ve had oxygen to breathe. They were buried 622 metres below ground.

One man is reported to have kept his vitality by running laps. A typographer spent time mapping the area that they were trapped in.

The Great Chilean Miner Rescue















These are the names and ages of the men, courtesy of CNN.com:

Alex Vega Salazar, 31

Ariel Ticona Yanez, 29

Carlos Andres Bugueno Alfaro, 27

Carlos Mamani Solis, 23

Carlos Barrios Conteeras, 27

Claudio Acuna Cortes, 34

Carlos David Yanez Lagos, 34

Daniel Esteban Herrera Campos, 27

Darios Antonio Segovia Rojas, 48

Edison Fernando Bena Villaroel, 34

Esteban Alfonso Rojas Carrizo, 44

Florencio Antonio Avalos Silva, 31

Franklin Lobos Ramirez, 53

Jorge Hernan Galleguillos Orellana, 56

Jose Henriquez Gonzalez, 54

Jose Ojeda VidalJuan Carlos Aguilar Gaete, 49

Juan Illanes Palma, 52

Jimmy Sanchez Lagues, 19

Luis Alberto Urzua Iribarren, 54

Matio Nicolus Gomez Heredia, 63

Mario Sepulveda Espinace, 40

Omar Alejandro Reygadas Rojas, 56

Osman Isidro Araya Araya, 30

Pablo Amadeos Rojas Villacorta, 45

Pedro Cortez Contreras, 25

Raul Enriquez Bustos Ibanez, 40

Renan Anselmo Avalos Silva, 29

Richard Reinald Villarroel Godoy, 27

Samuel Dionisio Avalos Acuna, 43

Victor Antonio Segovia Rojas, 48

Victor Zamora Bugueno, 33

Yonni Barrios Rojas, 50

The rescue started today, Wednesday, October 13th. Just before being rescued, the men were sent oxygen masks and dark glasses for their protection. It will take their eyes a long while to get used to light again. They are being sent to hospital for medical supervision, until doctors can be sure of their health.

It’s absolutely amazing how the men all stayed alive and survived. It’s an inspiration to people all around the world.

Hopefully, mining companies in Chile and elsewhere can learn better safety techniques and procedures. I also hope that all the men are compensated until they feel ready to work again or start new job training.

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About Kim Crawley

  • Clavos

    Roger, unlike Alan, actually DOES have a good point…

  • It’s rather suspicious, isn’t it, Roger?

  • Interesting twist, Kim. What better way to dismiss all allegations of possible negligence than by putting up a spectacle of miraculous rescue? And what better way to drive up the prices of those precious commodities while the world is on the verge of economic collapse?

  • Roger and Mark- You’ve made excellent points, as well. It’s quite possible that one of the reasons these innocent men had to endure this ordeal is the negligence of the people above them who are the decision makers and who are wealthier. And even responsible mining companies put their workers at risk- being a miner is one of the most dangerous occupations in the world. The demand for natural resources of all kinds, including the gold and copper this mine was for, is on the up and up, according to all of the stock market related people I know. My fiancé is an equity trader, and my stepfather is in investor relations.
    I’m sure there are people in the media, and people who are the ‘suits’ in the mining industry who exploited the miner’s ‘media training’ for their own ends.

  • Roger,

    You have to watch Mark’s ‘spectacle’ link. It’s excellent. I am up to Bolsheviks. You may wish to skip the 1st few seconds. I really wish I had shut my eyes for that bit. It added nothing and was unnecessarily nauseating. There are some things I do not ever need to see.

    I will have a look at your link next.

  • Found the relevant radio clip, the story featured on the Wall Street radio.

  • Since you’re on the subject, Mark, “The Wall Street Journal Report” (an AM radio program on the local station, both the program and the station conspicuously inaccessible online)spoke of how the trapped miners have been coached by the media to exploit the crisis to everyone’s mutual advantage, both the media and the miners themselves. Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine comes to mind.

  • Mark

    The rescue is yet another spectacle obscuring underlying production relations. And it’s all brought to us by the magic of free market capitalism and the Center Rock drill bit

  • Thanks Frances.

  • My gosh, I’ve heard high school corridors more mature than this! (Sticks nose up in the air.)

  • frances

    Great work Kim. You are a natural.

  • STM

    The last time Alan was in Rome, he managed to get an audience with the pope.

    They were spotted briefly on the balcony, and everyone who’d gathered outside for Mass was yelling in wonderment at the sight and asking: “Hey, look, up there, who’s that bloke with Alan?”

  • The Pope has a good point there.

  • zingzing

    what, cindy? alan’s just acting like some put upon martyr? people have agreed with him before, and several times, but he never seems to notice, and goes on as if he is universally hated and that his opinion is deemed always incorrect? alan’s opinion isn’t the issue? …it’s his what? personality?

    well, then, cindy, i guess you are innocent and may continue as before.

    yes, yes, i asked the pope. nazi, that pope. child molester too. ought to lock him up. looked at me sideways, he did. looks like palpatine.

  • zingzing has a good point there.

  • zingzing

    cindy, even if you are generally on the right side of most issues–except porn, which should be slightly to the left (this depending upon your dominant hand), for proper browsing capabilities during the act of looking at suchnsuch–to admit that alan kurtz has a good point, even if cheekily in reference to his reference to ms crawley saying that alan kurtz had a good point (and that being the kiss of death around here), for such a crime, you are to be punished by instant and eternal damnation for the grave sin you are now guilty of.

    begone! show not your face upon this planet blogcritics again! thine vile personage shall no longer plague our pages with your heresy! SPIT! SPAT! spate? …spatten? …whatever.

  • Arch ConscienceStain

    never, ever, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES say, “Alan had a good point.”

    We try not to talk about the shape of your head, for fear of tripping the ad-hominem wire.

  • pablo

    nice story but does not belong in politics

  • Alan’s got a good point there. 😉

  • Kim Crawley (#15), since you are a new BC writer, I must caution you: never, ever, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES say, “Alan had a good point.” That’s the surest path to Blogcritics perdition.

  • STM

    Kim: “STM- The Brit joke is much appreciated, my father is a native Londoner.”

    Just trying to lighten the mood a tad.

    I’m Australian, but I have dual British nationality. I know the teeth thing’s a cliche, but it’s often true.

    I went to school there so I know that’s the case. As Doc (who is himself a Brit transplanted in California)says, he’s seen teeth in England that could frighten off a Viking longship.

  • It’s okay, Cindy. I’ve got a relatively thick skin, at least when it comes to dealing with strangers. Honestly, as a blogger and writer, I’d be a lot more offended by getting zero feedback than negative feedback.

    And, Alan had a good point. But no matter what BC category I put it in, people will challenge it, especially since BC doesn’t have a world news section they way BC has Politics, Sci/Tech sections, and so on. When I put an article through via my admin account at BC, I can put it in as a ‘News Flash’ feature, but then I still have to choose one of the major subject categories.
    All major magazines and newspapers have the same sort of issues BC has when it comes to classifying an article sometimes. How often do you see an article in a major periodical or news website and think, ‘this could go in other sections, as well’. Some subjects one can write about work that way.
    I’m thrilled to have been chosen as a writer at BC, I’m associated with a great group of people- amazing writers and editors at BC and Technorati. It makes me want to step up my game, and conduct myself with the utmost of professionalism.
    I really appreciate the feedback here, positive AND negative. I’m a media person now, and as I mentioned before, getting a reaction is much preferable to being ignored. I will sometimes share my strong opinions on this website and on my personal blog, but I do my best to never slip down to Perez Hilton territory.
    And, I’ve just demonstrated that I’m another writer here who will quickly and frequently respond to my readers.

  • Hiya Kim,

    They don’t pay their welcoming committee very well here. 🙂 I hope that does not dissuade you.

    It’s just the regulars, really, doing their regular shtick.

  • STM- The Brit joke is much appreciated, my father is a native Londoner.
    El Bicho- I’m Blogcritics’ newest writer, so pardon my confusion.
    An editor here approved this article’s inclusion in Politics, and as Cindy said, this issue has major political implications. Blogcritics has the News Flash feature, which my article is under, but no topic section for world news the same way BC has topic sections for Gaming, Books, etc.
    Most of the articles under Culture are on the kind of subjects you would see in the Arts, Life or Living sections of major newspapers like the Toronto Star or the New York Times. If I get a chance to review a theatrical performance, or write an article on sociology, I’ll send my article to the Culture section.

  • STM

    “Two of the miners are expected to undergo extensive dental surgery tomorrow.”

    Coupla Brits among ’em?

  • “Culture is not for breaking news at Blogcritics.”

    Really? No doubt that will come as a shock to the people who have previously filed breaking news stories in the Culture section. You might want to give yourself more than a day to learn about the site

  • The thing is, we haven’t been glued to our screens watching greedy capitalists exploit underpaid and endangered workers. That would be political. As for breaking news, it belongs in whatever category best befits, which is sometimes not Politics.

    I would’ve put this in Sci/Tech.

    Here we have a human-interest story of trapped miners rescued through the technology of hoisting a narrow metal capsule, equipped with communications gear and a supply of oxygen, through a half-mile of rock. Each miner was dressed in coveralls made of moisture-resistant material and wore a hardhat and wraparound sunglasses to protect his eyes, habituated to the continual darkness of the caved-in mine.

    One of the miners is suffering from pneumonia. He was given a face mask connected to an oxygen tank, rushed to hospital and admitted to intensive care. His fellow rescued miners were also taken to hospital to undergo a battery of tests that included a chest X-ray, electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, dental exam, nutritional evaluation, skin test, eye exam, psychological exam and if necessary psychiatric exam. Two of the miners are expected to undergo extensive dental surgery tomorrow.

    Some will say this is a miracle performed by God and therefore belongs in BC’s Culture section. I say it’s a triumph of technology, that which kept them alive underground for 69 days and that which brought them out to safety and into the arms of their loved ones.

  • Culture is not for breaking news at Blogcritics. It’s for general social and cultural matters that aren’t breaking news. And as Cindy mentioned before, these workers being put in danger is a political issue, and Chile’s politicians are going to have to answer for it, as well.

  • “Political enough for you?”

    Nope. Belong in Culture

  • I must admit that I have been glued to my computer – and start tearing up with each miner coming out of the ground.

  • Cindy- My readers and I thank you for the video link.

  • Cindy-

    Hey, thank YOU. And thank CNN.com for the names. Yes, these are individuals with family and friends, not nameless statistics.

  • Here is a video of the rescue.

  • Tommy,

    the political implications are that some, who do not risk their lives, reap profits by requiring others to do so.

    Political enough for you?

    Great news piece Kim. I am very happy that you put it in politics and also that you took the time to list each miner’s name.

  • It’s not an article about politicians, that I admit. But out of the major sections on Blogcritics – TV/Film, Music, Culture, Sci/Tech, Books, Politics, Sports, Gaming and Tastes, that’s the category it best fits into. Definitely, it’s an issue that politicians in Chile and elsewhere need to deal with.


  • And the political implications are what?