For those who came in and watched the end of the Chilean mine rescue you might think the rescue was a miracle. You may have heard they expected the rescue to take 3 days and were happily surprised at the a course in miracles to bring the first through the last miner to the surface. The television channels happily covered the miners, even talked a bit about their lives. When you read about some of the miracles maybe you will realize how many miracles still happen.
700,000 tons of rock collapsed in the tunnel. One team was near the surface and they left. It took 17 days before a drill bit reached the part of the tunnel where the miners were hoped to be, 2000 feet underground. The rescuers were stunned to find a note attached to their drill bit. “We are good in the refuge, the 33.” The hope was to find a few who had survived, it was a miracle to find all 33 were alive.
It would take a day before there would be a vocal confirmation. It had been meal time when the mine collapsed. Thus most of the miners were gathered rather than being spread out. Two who were in the process of going back to work, stopped to look at small white butterfly, which kept them from being in the part of the tunnel that collapsed. Thus all 33 survived the initial collapse, through a course of miracles.
Their main area was about the size of a living room. Some are diabetic, some have high blood pressure, and the people above ground expect to see them barely hanging on, yet their health surprised all.
The 33 men had 2 days worth of food with them. Each ate a few spoonfuls of food per day to keep them alive and sustained. They drank the water from the radiators of various vehicles used in the lower parts of the mine. Thus 33 men survived 17 days on 2 days worth of food.
Soon the rescuers above had 3 small bore holes drilled to the miners, giving them food, water, air and communication. Family members were thrilled with the miners ability to survive and yet the miracles had hardly stopped. After much planning with engineers, drill experts and others, the earliest escape was planned for November, with a more likely date of “just before Christmas.”
Three machines were set into place to race to save the miners. Plan A and Plan B went into action as a man from the United States was flown in from Afghanistan. He is known as the best of the best on the machine also known as plan B, and in 33 days he broke into the tunnel where the miners were. Too much pressure and he could have cause more problems in the tunnel where the miners are. 66 days after becoming entombed 20 football fields underground.
Three days later the actual rescue begins. The Fenix, translated Phoenix like the great mythical bird, rises from the flames or tomb in this case. Each round trip, with lowering, loading, raising and lowering is expected to take an hour. Since some rescuers are going to check the health and mental soundness of the miners, they expect the entire operation to take days. The miners have been on food sent from NASA to help them get ready.
They are thoroughly strapped in, the most physically and mentally fit go first, in case there is a problem. Fainting could be fatal, so they are in special suits to help them. When someone faints, the blood pressure drops away from the brain, in falling to the ground the blood is able to come back. In the Fenix this will not be possible. The possibility of rocks catching on the Fenix or just the slightest crumbling of the walls could cause enormous problems. Yet, as if there miracles were too few, the rescues take place in as little as 25 minutes. In 22.5 hours all 33 miners are on the surface. 2 hours more brings up the last of the rescuers.