Friday, October 15, 2010

Mission Accomplished

After 70 days trapped in an earthly tomb... 33 Chilean miners were rescued! Each miner was lifted to the surface in a pod named 'phoenix'. Yes, it is symbolic of rising from the ashes. How fitting.

I love this story, as not only does it restore faith in God; for many... and speak highly to the mechanical and engineering progression we, as a people, have accomplished. To me, I think the loudest message is that of the human spirit. To live in a 500sq ft room, a half mile below the surface of the earth, for 17 days before anyone ever knew the men were alive. Surviving on a spoonful of tuna per day. Quenched by rations of water.

Save for the sound of banging on a pipe, the men may never have been found.

Once discovered, only to be told that they may not be reached before Christmas, which is a long time away from August 5th, when the men first became trapped by the mine collapse.

The world banned together and three plans were created; A, B and C.

It was plan "B" that would prove successful. When drilling began from the surface of the earth, to a depth, which equals the height of the CN Tower, plus an additional 90 feet.

A NASA inspired capsule with a fenced door, would slide down the 28" diameter shaft. The interior of the pod being only 22", which meant some of the men had to lose up to 20lbs in order to fit into the Phoenix.

Over a 20 hour period of time, the miners were brought up one-by-one after being coached by rescuers, who risked their own lives going down into the earth's depths to aid the miners. Each man was instructed on the usage of the camera, oxygen, and communications equipment within the pod. These measures were put into place so that the miner could remain in constant communication with the rescuers at the surface, to insure safe passage and calm any panic or claustrophobic attacks the men might suffer.

In addition, the men were also given dark sunglasses, as there is real potential for damage to their corneas after being in the dark for over two months. Although they did have some creature comforts while below the surface. One miner was an Elvis fan and requested CD's to listen to. They had movies, food and jobs to occupy their time. Mainly to keep their minds busy and not giving room for cabin fever to kick in. However, as much as the people above tried to accommodate the men ... natural sunlight was not something, which could be replicated.

As the men took their turns coming to the surface, there was a common thought spoken; that it was a 'rebirth'. Families described that from this point forward, there would be reference to life in the 'before' and the 'after'.

Following a brief reunion with family members, who camped out for the entire time in a tent city named 'Camp Hope', The men were taken to a make-shift triage tent and examined, before being flown to a hospital, where each man will stay for a minimum of 48hrs.

There are real concerns that some of the men will suffer PTSD at some point down the road. This can be mentally crippling. So, although they may be physically free from the earthly tomb. The images and experiences may be with them for a very long time.

In addition to physical and mental repercussions, there will be other significant changes in these mens future. There is already high demand for the talk-show circuit. Word of a movie. Not to mention class-action law suits.

The spirit of survival kept these brave miners alive for 70 days. The jubilation upon their resurfacing was the hope, which kept the loved ones going for every minute of every day - was felt when cheers for the miners were repeated over and over.

I pray that the courage, strength and spirit remain strong, not only with the miners, but also with their families.

One man said that there were 34 men in the mine as God was had never left them.

The irony is, they may need God more now - then when they were in the grip of the earth's mercy.

God bless each and every one of them!

Chi-Chi-Chi ... Le-Le-Le ... Viva Chile!!