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Chilean Mine Rescue

Puppy …

Courtesy: PagesofPleasure

Isn’t he cute ??? God I miss leather events. But I couldn’t pass this up.

This week could not have moved any slower. Thank God it’s my Friday, meaning no class tomorrow. It was a breeze this week. One day of French due to the holiday and one class tonight. I don’t know if I really hate Monarchs or if I am just putting up with it because it is necessary to have that class because of credits.

The miracle of the week was Wednesday and the saving of 33 miners from the pit 2050 feet under the ground. I left this comment over on Carmi’s blog, I thought I’d share it here as well.

Imagine if the same world effort put forth to save 33 men, was expanded into a global effort for change, imagine the immediate response of such a focused application.

If only it was so easy to do, for the global stage. Let’s not fool ourselves. the lesson is there for all to see.

I wonder if many big thinkers were watching in that 1 billion telecast last night?

We need more miracles like this in many places of the world. But it ain’t that easy is it? or could it be just that easy?

The weather is getting colder here. The trees that have leaves are still turning. Many of the trees in the neighborhood are already bare. Many of the big trees on my travel paths are still green and green leaves are falling from the trees, they have skipped the turn phase.

Tomorrow we are headed to Chateauguay for our meeting. I am really excited to see them tomorrow. Stay tuned for more…

Chile’s 33 trapped miners all rescued in “miracle”

By Cesar Illiano and Terry Wade

COPIAPO, Chile (Reuters) – All of Chile’s 33 trapped miners were rescued from the bowels of the earth in a special capsule on Wednesday as a extraordinary two-month survival story many call a miracle triggered wild celebrations.

Luis Urzua, 54, who was leading the shift at the time of the collapse, was the last of the miners to travel through 2,050 feet of rock to the surface in a capsule barely wider than a man’s shoulders.

Celebrations erupted across the country as he emerged to a hero’s welcome above the San Jose gold and copper mine in Chile’s northern Atacama desert, wearing his hard-hat and dark shades to protect his eyes after spending 69 days in a dimly-lit tunnel.

Urzua beamed as an elated crowd chanted, yelled, sobbed and waved red, white and blue Chilean flags. The miners have set a new world record for survival trapped underground.

Rescue workers opened the capsule door and hugged Urzua, who had insisted throughout that he would not leave the tunnel until all the other miners were safely evacuated.

They are now all safe, thanks to a meticulously-planned rescue operation that went quicker and more smoothly than anyone dared to believe.

Now the rescue workers who traveled the down the shaft to help evacuate them will themselves be winched to the surface in the metal capsule, named Phoenix after the mythical bird that rose from the ashes.

Church bells rang out in Chile when the first miner was extricated and Chileans were glued to their televisions, proud of their nation’s ability to save the men in a world class rescue operation.

“This was the toughest match of my life,” said Franklin Lobos, a former professional soccer player who turned to mining and driving a taxi to make ends meet, as he emerged from the mine.

The miners were whisked away for medical check ups and were found to be in good health, except for one who has pneumonia and is being treated with antibiotics.

“This is a miracle from God,” said Alberto Avalos, the uncle of Florencio Avalos, a father of two who was the first to emerge shortly after midnight.


Euphoric rescuers, relatives and friends broke into cheers — and tears — as the miners emerged to breathe fresh air for the first time since the mine caved in on Aug 5.

They were all initially believed to be dead but rescue teams found the men 17 days after the collapse with a bore hole the width of a grapefruit. The tiny hole then became an umbilical cord used to pass hydration gels, water and food to keep them alive during one of the world’s most ambitious rescue operations.

Their story of survival captured global attention. Some 1,500 journalists were at the mine to report on the rescue operation, which was broadcast live around the world, including dramatic live images of the miners hugging rescuers who traveled down the shaft to their refuge deep in the mine.

The flawless rescue was a big success for Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, who waited at the mouth of the shaft through the night and day to greet and hug the men as they emerged from the red, white and blue capsule — the Chilean colors.

Pinera, a billionaire entrepreneur who took office in March, ordered an overhaul of Chile’s mine safety regulations after the accident. His popularity ratings have surged and his government has won praise for its handling of the crisis.

Among millions of people who watched television coverage of the rescue of the first miner was U.S. President Barack Obama, who hailed the operation as an inspiration to the world.

“This rescue is a tribute not only to the determination of the rescue workers and the Chilean government but also the unity and resolve of the Chilean people who have inspired the world,” Obama said in Washington.

Thirty-two of the miners are Chilean but one is from neighboring Bolivia and the rescue has helped improve ties between the two countries, locked in a bitter dispute for more than a century over Bolivia’s demands for access to the Pacific.

Bolivia’s President Evo Morales was at the mine to welcome the Bolivian miner, Carlos Mamani, as he was lifted to safety and he thanked Pinera and his government for rescuing him.

Chile will continue to shut old, decrepit mines after the miners’ saga, but the clampdown is unlikely to hit output in the world’s top copper producer, industry insiders say.

The mining industry has played a central and often tragic role in Latin American history, starting with the hunger for gold and silver that drove the Spanish conquest and led to the enslavement of indigenous peoples.

Bolivian among 33 trapped miners rescued in Chile

At 10:00 p.m. the rescue of 32 Chilean/and 1 Bolivian Miner(s) began. We have been watching live coverage now for 5 hours. The 5th Chilean Miner is in the capsule and is on his way to the surface. Miner #5 has since made his way out of the mine as I am watching this transpire live on television.

The capsule is making roundtrips by the hour it seems, and everything seems to be going fantastically well. They say over a billion people world wide are watching this night unfold in Chile.

The Fenix capsule has been making the 2,040 foot trip between the mine and the surface. This is nothing short of a miracle, all are alive and over the next 30 hours we will see all miners make it to the surface.

By Michael Warren, The Associated Press

SAN JOSE MINE, Chile – Chile has rescued its fourth miner: the lone Bolivian among 33 men trapped underground for the past 69 days.

Carlos Mamani was greeted by his wife, Veronica, with a hug and kiss that knocked off her white hardhat as Chile’s president and first lady held small Bolivian flags.

Mamani also gestured with both forefingers at the Chilean flag on his T-shirt and shouted “Gracias, Chile!” before a round of back-slapping with his rescuers.

Mamani had just started working as a heavy-equipment operator at the mine when it it collapsed. He was recruited by his father-in-law, Johnny Quispe, who told The Associated Press that he narrowly escaped being crushed himself when the rocks fell, and that everyone at the mine knew it was dangerously overworked.


By Michael Warren, The Associated Press

SAN JOSE MINE, Chile – The first of 33 men was rescued Tuesday night after 69 days trapped in a collapsed mine, pulled to fresh air and freedom at last in a missile-like escape capsule to the cheers of his family and countrymen.

Florencio Avalos, wearing a helmet and sunglasses to protect him from the glare of rescue lights, smiled broadly as he emerged and hugged his sobbing 7-year-old son, Bairo, and wife. He also embraced Chilean President Sebastian Pinera and rescuers.

Also on hand was Avalos’ other son and father.

After the capsule was pulled out of a manhole-sized opening, Avalos emerged as bystanders cheered, clapped and broke into a chant of “Chi! Chi! Chi! Le! Le! Le!” — the country’s name.

Avalos gave a thumbs-up as he was led to an ambulance and medical tests after his more than two months deep below the Chilean desert — the longest anyone has ever been trapped underground and survived.

Avalos, the 31-year-old second-in-command of the miners, was chosen to be first because he was in the best condition. He has been so shy that he volunteered to handle the camera rescuers sent down so he wouldn’t have to appear on the videos that the miners sent up.

Pinera described how lovely it was to see Avalos’ sons greet their father, especially young Bairo.

“I told Florencio, that few times have I ever seen a son show so much love for his father,” the president said.

“This won’t be over until all 33 are out,” Pinera added. “Hopefully the spirit of these miners will remain forever with us. … This country is capable of great things.”

Minutes earlier, mine rescue expert Manuel Gonzalez of the state copper company Codelco grinned and made the sign of the cross as he was lowered into the shaft to the trapped men — apparently without incident. He was followed by Roberto Ros, a paramedic with the Chilean navy’s special forces. Together they will prepare the miners for their rescue — expected to take as many as 36 hours for all to surface.

“We made a promise to never surrender, and we kept it,” Pinera said as he waited to greet the miners, whose endurance and unity captivated the world as Chile meticulously prepared their rescue.

The last miner out has been decided: Shift foreman Luis Urzua, whose leadership was credited for helping the men endure 17 days with no outside contact after the collapse. The men made 48 hours’ worth of rations last before rescuers reached them with a narrow borehole to send down more food.

Janette Marin, sister-in-law of miner Dario Segovia, said the order of rescue didn’t matter.

“This won’t be a success unless they all get out,” she said, echoing the solidarity that the miners and people across Chile have expressed.

The paramedics can change the order of rescue based on a brief medical check once they’re in the mine. First out will be those best able to handle any difficulties and tell their comrades what to expect. Then, the weakest and the ill — in this case, about 10 suffer from hypertension, diabetes, dental and respiratory infections and skin lesions from the mine’s oppressive humidity. The last should be people who are both physically fit and strong of character.

Chile has taken extensive precautions to ensure the miners’ privacy, using a screen to block the top of the shaft from the more than 1,000 journalists at the scene.

The miners will be ushered through an inflatable tunnel, like those used in sports stadiums, to an ambulance for a trip of several hundred yards (meters) to a triage station for a medical check. They will gather with a few relatives in an area also closed to the media, before being taken by helicopter to a hospital.

Each ride up the shaft is expected to take about 20 minutes, and authorities expect they can haul up one miner per hour. When the last man surfaces, it promises to end a national crisis that began when 700,000 tons of rock collapsed Aug. 5, sealing the miners into the lower reaches of the mine.

The only media allowed to record them coming out of the shaft will be a government photographer and Chile’s state TV channel, whose live broadcast will be delayed by 30 seconds or more to prevent the release of anything unexpected. Photographers and camera operators are on a platform more than 300 feet (90 metres) away.

The worst technical problem that could happen, rescue co-ordinator Andre Sougarett told The Associated Press, is that “a rock could fall,” potentially jamming the capsule partly up the shaft.

Panic attacks are the rescuers’ biggest concern. The miners will not be sedated — they need to be alert in case something goes wrong. If a miner must get out more quickly, rescuers will accelerate the capsule to a maximum 3 metres per second, Health Minister Jaime Manalich said.

The rescue is risky simply because no one else has ever tried to extract miners from such depths, said Davitt McAteer, who directed the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration in the Clinton administration. A miner could get claustrophobic and do something to damage the capsule. Or a falling rock could wedge it in the shaft. Or the cable could get hung up. Or the rig that pulls the cable could overheat.

“You can be good and you can be lucky. And they’ve been good and lucky,” McAteer told the AP. “Knock on wood that this luck holds out for the next 33 hours.”

Mining Minister Laurence Golborne, whose management of the crisis has made him a media star in Chile, said authorities had already thought of everything.

“There is no need to try to start guessing what could go wrong. We have done that job,” Golborne said. “We have hundreds of different contingencies.”

As for the miners, Manalich said, “It remains a paradox — they’re actually much more relaxed than we are.”

Rescuers finished reinforcing the top of the 2,041-foot (622-meter) escape shaft Monday, and the 13-foot (four-meter) capsule descended flawlessly in tests. The capsule — the biggest of three built by Chilean navy engineers — was named Phoenix for the mythical bird that rises from ashes. It is painted in the white, blue and red of the Chilean flag.

The miners were to be closely monitored from the moment they’re strapped in the capsule. They were given a high-calorie liquid diet donated by NASA, designed to keep them from vomiting as the capsule rotates 10 to 12 times through curves in the 28-inch-diameter escape hole.

A video camera in the escape capsule would watch for panic attacks. The miners will wear oxygen masks and have two-way voice communication.

Their pulse, skin temperature and respiration rate will be constantly measured through a biomonitor around their abdomens. To prevent blood clotting from the quick ascent, they took aspirin and will wear compression socks.

The miners will also wear sweaters because they’ll experience a shift in climate from about 90 degrees underground to near freezing on the surface after nightfall. Those coming out during daylight hours will wear sunglasses.

Engineers inserted steel piping at the top of the shaft, which is angled 11 degrees off vertical before plunging like a waterfall. Drillers had to curve the shaft to pass through “virgin” rock, narrowly avoiding collapsed areas and underground open spaces in the overexploited mine, which had operated since 1885.

Seconds before each miner surfaces, a siren will sound and a light will flash for a minute to alert doctors to an arriving miner.

After medical checks and visits with family members selected by the miners, the men will be flown to the hospital in Copiapo, a 10-minute ride away. Two floors were prepared where the miners will receive physical and psychological exams and be kept under observation in a ward as dark as a movie theatre.

Chilean air force Lt. Col. Aldo Carbone said helicopter pilots have night-vision goggles but won’t fly unless it is clear of the thick Pacific Ocean fog that rolls in at night.

Families were urged to wait and prepare to greet the miners at home after a 48-hour hospital stay. Manalich said no cameras or interviews will be allowed until the miners are released, unless the miners expressly desire it.

Neighbours looked forward to barbecues and parties to replace the vigils held since their friends were trapped.

Urzua’s neighbours told the AP he probably insisted on being the last one up.

“He’s a very good guy — he keeps everybody’s spirits up and is so responsible — he’s going to see this through to the end,” said neighbour Angelica Vicencio, who has led a nightly vigil outside the Urzua home in Copiapo.

U.S. President Barack Obama praised rescuers, who include many Americans. “While that rescue is far from over and difficult work remains, we pray that by God’s grace, the miners will be able to emerge safely and return to their families soon,” he said.

Chile has promised that its care of the miners won’t end for six months at least — not until they can be sure that each miner has readjusted.

Psychiatrists and other experts in surviving extreme situations predict their lives will be anything but normal.

Since Aug. 22, when a narrow bore hole broke through to their refuge and the miners stunned the world with a note, scrawled in red pen, disclosing their survival, their families have been exposed in ways they never imagined. Miners had to describe their physical and mental health in minute detail with teams of doctors and psychologists. In some cases, when both wives and lovers claimed the same man, everyone involved had to face the consequences.


Associated Press writers Frank Bajak and Vivian Sequera contributed to this report.