Chile: 33 Miners Rescued Successfully

Efforts to free 33 miners [es] trapped inside the San Jose copper and gold mine, near the northern city of Copiapó, concluded successfully on October 13. Chileans have not only used blogs and social media to react to the accident and the rescue, but also to discuss issues that are related to the accident and the rescue.

Video by YouTube user tilmorrow.

The miners’ ordeal began when part of the mine collapsed on August 5, leaving the men without an exit. The blog Tribuna Chilena [es] (Chilean Tribune) informed that [es]:

Cuando se produjo el derrumbe, lo primero que intentaron los mineros fue ascender por la escalera del ducto de ventilación, que supuestamente era la salida de emergencia con la que contaba la mina. Pero descubrieron que la escala solo existía en una parte del trayecto y debieron abortar el intento de salida. Más tarde todo el ducto colapsó y ya no hubo posibilidad de usarlo.

When the collapse occurred, the first thing the miners tried [to do] was to ascend though a ladder inside a ventilation shaft that was –supposedly- the emergency exit of the mine. Yet they discovered that the ladder only existed in part of the path and had to abort their attempt to get out. Later the entire shaft collapsed and there was no possibility of using it.

The miners survived inside a shelter with two spoonfuls of tuna fish and half a glass of milk every forty-eight hours [es]. They were found, as Global Voices previously reported, after 17 days thanks to a message they tied to a metal drill used to reach them. The small hole served as a lifeline. Food, clothing, medicines, liquids and equipment were sent through the hole.

During the Rescue

TV Caption: "The first of the 33 is safe" Photo by Flickr user Daniel Semper used under an Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic by Creative Commons.

All TV stations in Chile broadcast the rescue without interruptions. Moreover, people in Chile and other countries took part in Twitter conversations before, throughout, and after the rescue [es]. The tweeting got serious when the first miner emerged. Elizabeth Cuevas (@JeiBiebermaniia) said [es]:

Lloré de la emoción cuando Florencio Ávalos silva salió a la tierra,fué algo maravillosamente emotivo :D

I cried of emotion when Florencio Avalos Silva [first miner to be rescued] emerged to the earth. It was something wonderfully emotive :D

Alez Ortiz (@alexis_audino) said about the miners [es]:

vamos por el cuartooooooooooooo… #mineros

let’s go for the fourth… #mineros

Frann (@frankaponne) from Santiago said he would stay up all night watching to support the miners [es], comparing the rescue to the Chilean Telethons.

Estibaliz Loredo (@StiLoredo) reflected on the general reaction to the rescue [es]:

Todo el mundo feliz y emocionado con el rescate de los #mineros de #chile… Como no? Si ultimament lo unico q escuchamos es pura desgracia

Everyone is happy and emotional with the rescue of the #miners from #chile… How could it not be? Because lately the only things we hear about are misfortunes

Beatriz Carpente (@AYUDEMOSPLANETA) spoke about the name of the capsule [es] built to bring the miners to the surface:

Que impresionante el rescate, que valentía , la cápsula que tiene un nombre muy hermoso: Fenix , el renacer del hombre #mineros

How impressing the rescue. How  brave. The capsule has a beautiful name: Phoenix, the rebirth of men #miners

As the rescue unfolded without problems, Twitter users seemed to have relaxed. The rescue of Carlos Mamani, the only foreigner (from Bolivia) was commented extensively. While some Chileans joked about Bolivian-Chilean relations (“weak” since the end of the War of the Pacific in 1884), such as Camilo Gomez [es], most thought of Mamani as a fellow countryman. Such was the case of Alda Fuentes [es] (@aldafuentes) and Rodrigo Castro (@rodrigocastrov). Mr. Castro replied to a tweet from Bolivia [es]:

RT @leticoro acá en Bolivia se espera especialmente a Carlos Mamani #mineros // Acá en Chile igual. Aguante el hermano boliviano

RT @leticoro here in Bolivia [we] are waiting especially for Carlos Mamani #miners // Here in Chile too. Hang in there Bolivian brother.

After more than 20 hours of work, the job was done. The citizen-run newspaper El Naveghable [es] reported that [es]:

[A] las 22:05 Luis Urzúa, el jefe que estuvo de turno por 70 días, fue el último en llegar a la superficie inundando de emoción a todo un país que se mantuvo día y noche expectante durante 24 horas a la espera de este momento que por fin y luego de dos meses llegó a su término.

At 22:05, Luis Urzúa, the boss who had a 70-day shift, was the last to reach the surface, overflowing with emotions a country that stayed waiting day and night for this moment that finally –after two months- ended.

Twitter users in Chile and elsewhere mainly used the hashtags #chile, #mineros, #rescate, #vivachile, #los33 and #miners.

On Safety

Before the rescue, Enzo Abbagliati wrote in El Quinto Poder [es] (The Fifth Power) about how the story would be told in the future. He divided this story in chapters. About the last possible chapter of the story, he said [es]:

Pero la mayor lección será la del capítulo final, ese en el que un país completo, una vez pasada la emoción […] hizo el trabajo que correspondía: reformar las bases de un modelo de desarrollo que permitía el lucro de unos sobre la base de la vida de muchos, en el que la riqueza desmedida convivía aún con carencias profundas.

But the most important lesson will be in the final chapter, where after emotions cool off, an entire country […] did the job that was required: to reform the bases of a development model that allowed for the profiting of some over the lives of many [;a model] in which unbounded wealth coexisted with profound shortages [or a lack of something].

With regard to safety in the workplace, Andrea (@gatulilla) warned that:

Hubo 8 mails del minero que murió en La Escondida reclamando por la inseguridad de la mina, pero nunca le hicieron caso (via @FeloRockero)

There were 8 emails from the miner that died in La Escondida [mine] complaining about insecurity in the mine, but they never listened to him (via @FeloRockero)

Felipe Becerra (@FeloRockero) replied to her [es]:

@gatulilla Da rabia ver que todos están orgullosos de rescatar mineros del fondo de la tierra, en vez de reclamar por más seguridad laboral.

@gatulilla It angers me to see that everyone is [just] proud of rescuing the miners from the bottom of the earth, rather than asking for more work safety.

The President, Sebastián Piñera (@sebastianpinera), promised to lead a profound reform in terms of work safety, not just in the mining industry, but also in other sectors of the economy.

Thumbnail image by Flickr user Destino Paralelos! used under an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Creative Commons license


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