Rescue of trapped miners in Chile to begin soon

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 12, 2010 10:31 PM GMT
    (CNN) -- A world mesmerized by a 68-day tale of true grit expects a joyful ending Tuesday in a desolate patch of Chile's Atacama Desert.

    One by one, 33 miners, trapped in a gold and copper mine since the start of August, will put on green coveralls made of moisture-resisting material and personalized with names like Raul Enriquez Bustos Ibanez. Juan Illanes Palma. Alex Vega Salazar.

    The oldest is 63. The youngest, only 19.

    Rescuers at the Chilean mine said the concrete base built for the winch system at the San Jose Mine had hardened, paving the way for the rescue of the miners to begin late Tuesday.

    "We hope to finish the day with at least one miner on the surface," said Mining Minister Laurence Golborne.

    The miners will also have on fresh underwear and socks when they climb into a claustrophobic capsule only a little wider than the span of their shoulders.

    They will be instructed on the communications equipment and the oxygen supply inside the rescue tube. And they will put on special goggles to protect their eyes -- which have become accustomed to the vampiric darkness of the caved-in mine -- from the lights up above.

    Then the order to hoist will ring out and each man will begin a slow, bumpy, upward journey through half a mile of rock.

    Each time a miner comes out, a siren, like that of an ambulance, will sound. Chilean Health Minister Jaime Manalich told families not to panic when they heard the siren. In this case, it was not being used for something bad, he said. Only to herald the arrival of a moment as joyous as a baby's entrance into he world.

    The miners have been placed on liquid diets in case they vomit on the way to the surface and they have been exercising for an hour a day.

    Yonni Barrios, is a paramedic and has been weighing his fellow miners daily, taking blood tests and doing daily urine analyses. The others call him "Dr. House" after the television show, which is popular in Chile.

    It's unclear exactly when the rescue will begin, but it is likely to go from night into day. Some of the men will feel the intense chill of a desert night; others may come out to a searing sun burning high in a cloudless sky.

    The rescue capsule will spin as it rises. It will be harrowing. And dark. Like a scary amusement park ride.

    Except the thrill for these 33 men will lie at the end of the ride, when each will see the families they probably feared they would never see again.

    "As he comes out he will be reborn," said Nelly Bugueno about her son Victor Zamora Bugueno, 33, a carrier pigeon handler and a poet.

    Nelly Bugueno has been camping out with the other families above the caved-in mine in this spartan area void of hotels, gas stations or any other amenities. They named the place Camp Esperanza (Hope).

    Tuesday, that hope was apparent as the families sang songs and could not contain the joy of long-awaited reunions.

    Children played soccer in front of a red school house erected at the camp and 33 flags -- 32 Chilean and a single Bolivian -- representing the nationalities of the men buried underneath.

    "God is in all places, At the same time your family loves you," read a sign for Mario Nicolus Gomez Heredia, the oldest of the miners.

    Gomez began mining at the tender age of 12. He became a spiritual leader for the trapped men and requested a crucifix and statuettes of saints so the men could construct a shrine inside the mine.

    But amid hope also lurked fear. What if something went wrong? Claudio Lobos craved reassurance.

    His brother Franklin Lobos Ramirez, 53, once played soccer in a Chilean professional league and served as an an electrician in the mine. The mine collapsed as he and Jorge Hernan Galleguillos Orellana drove a truck deep down inside the shafts. They slowed down to look at a small white butterfly that had somehow gotten in the mine, and just ahead of them the rocks began caving in. It saved their lives, they said.

    If only the journey back was guaranteed to be as lucky. The rescue cage looked small to Claudio. Would his brother fit in there? Was it safe? he asked journalists.

    He was told the Chilean government has used every resource to save his brother. What more could journalists say?

    The first to come out will be five miners who have been deemed fit and who possess the most technical know-how so that they can advise the rescue teams.

    The next five will be the physically weakest, a term perhaps not appropriate for anyone who has survived more than two months in the bowels of the earth. But one of the miners has diabetes; another has black lung.

    The last to come out will be Luis Alberto Urzua Iribarren, 54. Like the captain of a sinking ship, the shift supervisor volunteered to stay behind until all his men were safe.

    Once the men have been extracted, they will undergo about two hours of health checks at a field hospital set up at the mine. They will then be flown by helicopter to a hospital in the town of Copiapo -- approximately a 15-minute flight.

    Miners who are healthy enough will be allowed to visit briefly with family members in a reunion area before being taken to the hospital. Some have exhibited anxiety, according to Manalich, the health minister. They may experience psychological problems.

    For the 33 men, the only contact with the outside world since the beginning of August was through a small bore hole through which they were sent food, water and other supplies. A letter sent by one of them said they would take a vow of silence, to never to fully reveal the details of their underground misery.

    Edison Fernando Pena Villaroel, 34, sent back a request for Elvis Presley music and led the group in sing-alongs.

    Victor Antonio Segovia Rojas, 48, kept a journal throughout the ordeal and sent his updates to help keep the rescuers on the surface informed about the miners' well-being. He's an acoustics expert.

    Jimmy Sanchez Lagues, 19, the youngest miner who worked as an environmental assistant sent a letter to his mother. He just wanted to taste her cooking again.

    Ariel Ticona Yanez, 29, watched his wife give birth to a baby girl via a video link that was lowered into the mine. Of his three children, this was the first birth he was able to witness. They called their new daughter Esperanza.

    High above the miners, the buzz of electrical generators brought in by hordes of media began to drown out other sounds Tuesday. About 1,500 journalists from 39 nations gathered to tell a story of survival.

    On this sweltering desert day, the entire world was watching with hope in their hearts for a very happy ending.
  • Descamisado

    Posts: 95

    Oct 13, 2010 12:22 AM GMT
    Hope Massey Energy is paying attention.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 13, 2010 12:41 AM GMT
    Yep, I am so happy for them! I'll be staying up late to watch each rescue.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 13, 2010 2:23 AM GMT
    I'm watching it right now. It's fascinating. They just lowered the rescue worker down.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 13, 2010 2:50 AM GMT
    Watching it LIVE............. absolutely awesome!

    Something POSITIVE to watch in such a negative world!
    I'm proud of Chile!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 13, 2010 3:10 AM GMT
    I lived in Chile for 4 years, beautiful country, warmest and kindest people you will ever meet. Incredible topography from the North where you will find the desert and copper mountains, down to the South...Tierra del Fuego, beautiful lakes, and forests...not to mention wonderful wine...hoping that everything goes successfully not to mention that the mine Industry and regulations are put forth by the government that this does not happen again.
  • Webster666

    Posts: 9217

    Oct 13, 2010 3:20 AM GMT
    The first miner is OUT !
    Tears in my eyes...
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 13, 2010 3:22 AM GMT
    Webster666 saidThe first miner is OUT !
    Tears in my eyes...
    I cried as hard as that kid did! Damn sand in my eyes!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 13, 2010 3:24 AM GMT
    TropicalMark said
    Webster666 saidThe first miner is OUT !
    Tears in my eyes...
    I cried as hard as that kid did! Damn sand in my eyes!

    Same here! What a miracle!!!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 13, 2010 4:22 AM GMT
    Too bad there are no apparent plans to close that mine


    Hope everyone comes out safe!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 13, 2010 4:43 AM GMT
    It's getting late where I am, but I'm having a hard time going to bed. I'm wanting to stay up to see these guys come up one by one. It's inspiring to think they're now being freed after enduring this ordeal for two months.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 13, 2010 4:50 AM GMT
    You can watch it live: 2 have already been rescued.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-11489439
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 13, 2010 7:52 PM GMT
    21 out as of 330pm Eastern time.
    Awesome!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 13, 2010 8:04 PM GMT
    It's a fantastic story. Apollo 13 all over again.

    Forget all the "miracle" BS though. This is down to the ingenuity, willpower and tenacity of man. I'm fed up of "God" taking the credit for the positive achievements of the human race, but it being "man's fault" when it all goes to rat shit.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 13, 2010 10:18 PM GMT
    Mil8 saidIt's a fantastic story. Apollo 13 all over again.

    Forget all the "miracle" BS though. This is down to the ingenuity, willpower and tenacity of man. I'm fed up of "God" taking the credit for the positive achievements of the human race, but it being "man's fault" when it all goes to rat shit.


    If you're an atheist you may not believe a higher power had anything to do with it, but I think it is a miracle of man and God working together, and many of those men are talking about God.

    One said, "There are actually 34 of us, because God has never left us down here."
    And another, "He took me by my best hand, the hand of God, and I held on to him. I never thought for one minute that God wouldn't get me out of there. I believe that I had extraordinary luck, I believe this was a test ... I believe that God does test people and I believe that we have the possibility to confront things in life such as what we had to confront."

    We can only surmise what they've experienced being a 1/2 mile underground for months with little food and excessive heat.
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Oct 13, 2010 10:19 PM GMT
    So awesome.. how can you not get a little emotional. I had tears in my eyes last night.

    icon_biggrin.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 13, 2010 10:21 PM GMT
    27 are out!
    Viva Chile!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 13, 2010 10:21 PM GMT
    Wan2GetBigR said
    Mil8 saidIt's a fantastic story. Apollo 13 all over again.

    Forget all the "miracle" BS though. This is down to the ingenuity, willpower and tenacity of man. I'm fed up of "God" taking the credit for the positive achievements of the human race, but it being "man's fault" when it all goes to rat shit.


    If you're an atheist you may not believe a higher power had anything to do with it, but I think it is a miracle of man and God working together, and many of those men are talking about God.

    One said, "There are actually 34 of us, because God has never left us down here."
    And another, "He took me by my best hand, the hand of God, and I held on to him. I never thought for one minute that God wouldn't get me out of there. I believe that I had extraordinary luck, I believe this was a test ... I believe that God does test people and I believe that we have the possibility to confront things in life such as what we had to confront."

    We can only surmise what they've experienced being a 1/2 mile underground for months with little food and excessive heat.


    If you substitute the word "hope" for "God", it seems to work just as well.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 14, 2010 12:56 AM GMT
    VIVA CHILE!
    ¡Savor la esperanza!

    Mission accomplished! ALL 33 are on the surface!
  • rioriz

    Posts: 1056

    Oct 14, 2010 1:15 AM GMT
    Been watching all day! God has really blessed these miners!!!!