The 33 trapped Chilean miners were lifted to freedom one at a time, more than two months after being trapped underground.
The world held its breath Tuesday night as the giant wheel above the mine turned clockwise, bringing the Chilean miners to the surface, one by one. It’s an emotional end to the extraordinary story of the 33 men trapped a half mile from the surface for a grueling 69 days. (Video from CNN)
Family, friends, and a medic greeted each rescued miner as they reached the top.
They were tired, fatigued, but feeling lucky to breathe the air and see the sun. (Video from ITN)
Al Jazeera reports there is one aspect that should not be overlooked, the sacrifice of those on the surface. Before the rescue could begin, one brave man joined the miners and put his life on the line to potentially save “the 33”: “It all started with this lone medic, who went some 700 meters below ground, his job was to kick off a rescue operation to get the 33 men out alive.”
Throughout the entire process, Chileans have perceived the rescue as a source of national pride. However, they’re not the only ones who are watching every turn of the wheel. CNN lists the countless watch parties scheduled around the world where viewers are transported to the gold mine. One global community under the flag of Chile: “We’ve been getting viewer reaction from as far away as Sri Lanka to Ecuador, but some of the freshest video we have coming in is from various watch parties from around the world. There was one in Japan for example at the Chilean Embassy … So really its amazing to see that people have actually gathered in spots, in cafes, in homes to watch what’s happening live on their screens, it’s really brought people together to watch this drama unfold.”
The Phoenix rescue capsule used to bring the miners up will travel a half-mile each way. With a 21-inch diameter inside, the device is no bigger than the average shoulders of the miners themselves. On WLUK, a mine rescue specialist describes it as a stressful way to end a journey that has lasted for more than two months.
Lauriski: “The most difficult part is the wait to get there and the unknown. I think more than anything not knowing every time that cage goes up and down that shaft whether or not that’s going to be a successful round trip.”
Reporter: “The 20 minute ride back to the surface will be difficult mentally and physically. Below miners are gearing up taking aspirin to combat changes in blood pressure, wearing compression clothing to prevent blood clots, and special sunglasses to protect their eyes.”
Amidst the ongoing rescue, one blogger from The Star Online can’t help but be connected to the miners’ story. He believes no one could script a success story like this: “I am feeling the anxiety and joys of these brave men, their families and those involved with this highly dangerous operation. It is at this hour of need that we humans are able to connect, discover and witness the best that mankind can offer to our fellow men.”
The landmark rescue will be written into history, and the miners remembered for their bravery. The Huffington Post explains the event is as much a story of human endurance as it is a lesson learned: “We’ve got a great love of this drama. And it is a triumph for sure. But as we witness the miracle that made this day, and this extraordinary rescue possible, do we think about all those other miners who are today going to work in mines where safety is an issue?”
All the rescued miners have been taken to a hospital for further care and support. With the help from their fellow workers, their nation, and nations around the world, they can return to their families and lives above ground safe, and alive.
Writer: Erik Shute
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