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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Chilean miners rescued after 69 days underground

In the days leading up to the rescue of the 33 Chilean miners, the makeshift Camp Hope, home of the miner’s families for the past two months, buzzed with anticipation. Barbershop quartets, clowns, and over 1,400 international journalists mixed with wives and girlfriends hastily preparing to see their men again, according to The New York Times. Proclaimed the longest shift in mining history, the miners were relieved after 69 days, welcomed back to the surface in “one of the greatest success stories of all time,” according to the Guardian.

In early August the San Jose mine located in Northern Chile collapsed, trapping the 33 men inside. “Los 33” stretched the two days’ worth of provisions over 17 days until the search teams finally drilled down to their emergency shelter.

Over the last three months, rescue efforts have been nonstop; as a result, the men reached the surface a month earlier than predicted.

All over the world, eyes were glued to television screens on Oct. 13 as the men were rescued. Bearing the men the half-mile to the surface, the rescue capsule, Phoenix, was equipped with a video feed and oxygen rich air, according to The New York Times.

The final stage of the rescue lasted 22 hours, ending as the rescue workers below held up a sign declaring “mission complete” as the last miner surfaced The New York Times reported.

Florencio Avalos, the first man to reach the surface, was greeted with a hug from Chilean President Sebastian Piñera. The miners who followed were then taken to tents to receive medical care and see their family before going to the hospital according to The New York Times.

While most of the miners left the hospital shortly after being admitted, many were discharged by officials in a “delicate situation from an emotional standpoint,” according to Chilean newspaper El Mercurio. Health Minister Jaime Mañalich announced that the miners had begun dreaming of the mine and would wake up in the night for their shift of assigned work. Chilean secretary of state assured that these reactions are normal and stated that, if they had immediately adapted it, would have been strange, El Mercurio reported.

Piñera is being praised for his “no expenses spared ” management of the rescue, according to The Economist. The procedures are being used as a model for similar mine cave-ins that happened in early October in Ecuador and China.

The miners have futures full of possibility, due to their newly established celebrity status.

“We are going to publish a book,” said miner Ariel Ticona, according to Yahoo News.

Initially the group had a pact to keep silent about their first weeks trapped, according to Reuters.

“There’s an agreement for us to speak as a group, to avoid distortions that can arise when we speak individually,” explained miner Omar Reygada.

The pact has proven non-binding as many men are offering interviews for a price, according to Reuters.

Novelties such as iPads, provided by Steve Jobs, Manchester United tickets, and holidays to Greece have been given to the miners and their families according to the Telegraph. Some have been guaranteed financial security, such as Carlos Mamani, the lone Bolivian in the group, who has been offered a position working for Bolivian President Evo Morales, The Telegraph reported.

In a scene worthy of inclusion in a telenova, miner Yonny Barrios had both his wife and mistress show up to pray at his picture. The wife will receive all the donations, while Barrios went home to the mistress, Susana Valenzuela, whom he has lived with the past five years, according to The New York Times.

“He is my Yonny Barrios, he is mine and nobody else’s,” said Valenzuela to El Mecurio.

In her time at Camp Hope, Elizabeth Segovia, wife of miner Ariel Ticona, gave birth. The baby girl was named Esperanza, meaning Hope, according to BBC News.

Guilford sophomore Freddy Gomez declared his pride about being Chilean.

“A lot of people didn’t know about Chile until this happened,” said Gomez. “Now the whole world knows that Chile has the resources for itself.”

In this great story of success, the world is accompanying Chile in celebration. This is visible from the cheers of “Chi-chi-chi le-le-le” around the nation, to spikes in Chilean wine sale worldwide. In Coapio, a town neighboring the infamous mine, plastic bags decorate the streets where balloons cannot be afforded, The News Tribune reports.

“Chile will now be remembered and recognized not by (former dictator) Pinochet, but as an example of unity, leadership, courage, faith and success,” said Piñera, according to UK newspaper The Sun.

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