By Greg Goulder ’13
Late at night on Aug. 13, all 33 miners trapped in a Chilean mine were rescued without incident.
There is a lot more to this story than a dramatic rescue, though.
The rescue ended “the largest underground entrapment in human history,” according to MSNBC’s online publication.
All miners resurfaced within a 24 hour period after the first was rescued, well ahead of the projected time for completion.
The miners received praise from Chile’s president Sebastian Pinera, saying, “All of Chile shared your anguish and hope,” according to the LA Times.
The miners were believed to have been dead for the first 17 days before making contact with the outside world.
The men were trapped by a collapse in the mine Aug. 5 and attempted to escape before a second collapse disabled their efforts.
Supplies were given to the men through a bore hole barely larger than a grapefruit, according to an online Reuters article.
Officials reported that the miners were in particularly good health and showed no injury.
One unidentified miner was diagnosed with pneumonia and received immediate treatment.
The miners escaped through a small steel capsule, just wide enough to fit a man and took a ride through nearly half a mile of rock to the surface.
Video screens were set up throughout Chile to allow the public to watch as the miners were rescued.
The miners were outfitted with sunglasses to protect their eyes from the sun after spending weeks underground with no light.
Sobbing wives and children greeted the miners as they emerged after over two months underground.
However, this is not just a story with a happy ending; this event sheds light on the mine safety in Chile.
The mine had been closed, but reopened prior to meeting safety standards in order to increase profit, said James Downie at The New Republic.
This happy ending may also be attributed to capitalism, as the drill that saved the miners, manufactured by Center Rock Inc., was built with the intent of making money before being used in the rescue effort, according to The Week.
One could argue that this disaster was caused by capitalism, though, because the collapse would not have occurred had the mine owners waited for a governmental mine inspector to approve the mine instead of sacrificing safety for profits.
“Neither the collapse nor the rescue can be solely attributed to capitalism or government. The credit, and the blame, lie with both,” Downie said.
Check this out, a really cool interactive graphic: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/10/12/world/20101013-chile.html?ref=multimedia
And this, a great photo gallery of the rescue: http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2010/10/rescued_from_a_chilean_mine.html