The San Jose mine – Atacama desert, Chile. Trapped seven hundred meters underground for seventy days, the story of thirty three miners has captivated the hearts and minds of people all over the world.
It is a rescue operation which has achieved unprecedented media attention. Hundreds of people were mobilised in the operation, with expertise from advisers flown in all over the world. In a 24 hour operation, the last miner should be out of the collapsed mine by 00:00 GMT on the 13th of October.
The accident was caused by a mine collapse, and as families waited in anguish for news of any survivors for 17 days, the miners were discovered after an exploratory borehole reached them. With a note being sent back up that they were alive on a starvation diet, the attention, and hopes of the families and the world were focused on this small mine in Chile.
All of the main shaft tunnels had been compromised in a series of collapses, meaning that an alternative hole would have to be drilled to get the miners out. Using cutting edge technology to get the job done, the rescue operation has been hugely sucessful. Original estimates put the miners being rescued just before Christmas.
“When life defeated death, when hope defeated anguish,” were the words of the Chilean president Sebastian Pinera on today’s rescue.
The rescue is an extraordinary story of human resilience and survival no matter the odds. It is also a story for people all over the world, coming together to celebrate something more important than the jubilations of everyday life – there is value in having hope.