On Tuesday, the final arrangements are being put in place for the rescue of
33 miners in Chile. Trapped 1,970 feet underground, the miners have been
cramped in a tiny space for more than two months—the longest anyone has
survived this type of disaster. With the final rescue slated
for 7 p.m. EST tonight, reporters are examining the rescue workers' plan and the toll this disaster has taken in Chile:
- It's Going to Be an Incredible Moment, wites Olivia Lang
at the BBC: "For more than two months, the men have been living 2km
beneath the earth's surface, in a claustrophobic, dusty chamber the size
of a living room. If all goes to plan, they will endure an intense,
nerve-wracking 20-minute journey strapped into a tiny cage - only to
face the reality of emotional families and the scrutiny of the media."
- Lots of Anxiety All Around, writes Tim Padgett at Time:
shaft's complex angle and curves remain a worry, albeit a smaller one
now, which is one reason it was thought the rescue wouldn't start until
Wednesday or later. But given the euphoric expectations the miners
experienced when the drill broke through Saturday morning, officials
feel it's best for both the mental and physical health of the men — who
after a brief time with family members will be helicoptered to a Copiapó
hospital for observation — to get them up as quickly as possible if the
shaft is deemed safe. "The less anxiety this process generates at this
point, the better," one government official told me. The men will be
greatly helped during their ascent, those officials hope, by wearing a
helmet with special communication equipment that will let rescue
personnel talk them through every inch of the journey.
- It's Taken an International Effort, writes The Los Angeles Times editorial board:
Contact with the world above brought hundreds of government officials, Red Cross
workers and volunteers (who prepare 500 meals a day for family members)
to the site. It also brought cutting-edge technology to solve the dual
challenges of keeping the miners alive and devising a rescue. Twenty
private mining companies from around the world — usually rivals —
coordinated efforts to penetrate the rock, loaning equipment and
personnel; the state-run mining company fashioned a telephone system
through a second probe hole. The miners have received, food, water,
medicine, dominoes, MP3 players and videos to ward off depression, and
they have traded letters with family members. One man proposed to his
girlfriend; another promised his wife the honeymoon they never had.
- It United the Country, writes Stephen Bodzin
at The Christian Science Monitor: "The collapse of the mine has helped
pull together a geographically disparate, class-conscious, and often
individualistic country." He interviews Bernarda Lorca, a disabled woman
working with a group to provide financial and moral support to the
miners. "The people are more united," she says. "Chile is very divided.
The rich are rich and the poor are poor. Here, people who might be a bit
snobbier have to walk in the same mud as everyone else. You can't walk
around here in polished shoes."
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