Thursday, October 14, 2010

World Wide Celebration!

How long has it been since the world united in a global celebration? Well, it's been a long, long time. But yesterday the world watched and cheered as one by one the 33 men trapped for 69 days (70 for the last few) in that gold and copper mine in Chile were finally freed and, as near to literally as possible, brought back to life. Luis Urzua was the 33rd miner to travel from 2,000 feet below the surface in a capsule designed by the Chilean Navy. The entire rescue, once they started pulling the men to safety took right around 22 1/2 hours without a single mishap.
What a joyous outcome!
And what a testament to the human spirit that these men not only survived but appeared to be in pretty sound physical as well as mental health.

I was fascinated to hear about the many medical experts who had been working with the rescue crew to insure the best possible outcome. One detail that I found particularly interesting was that the extraction in the very capsule that was designed to save them, also presented a problem that could kill them: the possibility of the men fainting on the way up due to a drop in their blood pressure. When a person faints, it's because their blood pressure drops. So, you fall when you faint, right? It's nature's way of letting the blood pressure equalize and you wake back up.
Well, if one of those miners fainted on the 15 - 20 minute ride up out of that hole, there was no way for them to fall over in that tiny capsule. So the doctors had fed them a high salt diet for 5 days before the rescue started to increase their blood pressure, then each miner was given a pressurized garment to wear that was specifically designed to keep the blood out of the lower half of their body and in the upper half to avoid the possibility of fainting. Cool, huh? They thought of everything - including asking for and accepting help from any country who was willing to provide it. Of course the good old USA was there, as was South Africa, Canada, and a host of others.
These men will all have psychological issues to work through over time, but who, among all of us watching, had even given them a chance of coming out alive? It truly was a miracle and a reason for celebration.
Did you all watch? And besides the human drama, which is just incredible, did anything else strike you as particularly interesting? And other than the first moon landing, can you think of any other event in recent history that galvanized the world in the way the plight of these lost souls, now saved souls has?


krisgils33 said...

I am not a reality TV type person, but I was totally hooked on it! It was an amazing thing to see those guys come up safely one by one. When I got home from work my husband said "it was like watching puppies being born"...just happy, happy.

Keri Ford said...

this whole event was completely amazing. I love how they were humble enough to say, if you want to help, help us save these men....I don't think there are many countries out there that would do that. I have even more respect for them than many other places becuase of it. I wish those men on the quickest path to recovery after what was certainly a horrifying event.

Cindy Gerard said...

Kris - I love the puppies analogy :o)

Cindy Gerard said...

Keri - I agree. And the government immediately stepped in and worked in tandem with the mining company.

Lynn said...

I agree with everyone about how amazing it was to watch this unfold. I wish all involved the very best. And I know the US played a big role in the recovery by offering up "supplies" and machinery ~ that makes me very happy to be able to call myself an American!!!! Oh yeah, and how about a HUGE pat on the back to Jeff Hart from CO. who spent 33 days operating the drill that finally broke through to the miners!!!! Way to go are the man!!!!!

Cindy Gerard said...

YES! to Jeff! he is the man!

Michele Hauf said...

This whole thing just makes me feel so good. I love it! And if anyone feels mad, sad, angry, or frustrated, they should just take a few moments to think of this incredible miracle and how happy their families are just to have their men home and alive.
Makes me tear up just to read about it.

And yes, fascinating how they thought of every little detail, down to their diets to ensure good health and smooth ride up tunnel.

I was curious though, in special last night, it said something like three miles of tunnels? Did they actually have that much space? I wanted to know how big their area was.

And also, they mentioned they'd made a pact not to discuss events that occured during first 17 days (before they were discovered). Curious about that. :-)

Cindy Gerard said...

Michele - yes, I heard that they had 3 miles of tunnel which was open to them which makes it even more amazing that the test drills found them!

As for not discussing the first 17 days - which were the days before they were found - I totally get it. They couldn't have been in great mental health at that point. Very little food, no idea if they would be found, figured they were going to die down there. It had to have pushed some of them to the breaking point. No doubt, for many, it was not their finest hour. Despair and fear can bring out the worst in people and they had plenty of both. I think it's great that all of them agreed to not talk about it - kind of like, 'what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas'
except the stakes were much higher.

Leanne said...

I loved reading about the escape capsule. NASA helped with it and wanted to name it the Escape Capsule. The Chilean engineers called it the Rescue Capsule. But to the people waiting for the miners to return, it was known as Phoenix. How cool is that. Thanks for the blog, Cindy.

lois greiman said...

I heard that there were several men who wanted to go out last so they could hold the world record. I thought it was so funny and human.

Helen Brenna said...

I can't think about this without crying. It's an amazing story, one I hope they keep talking in the media. Finally, something wonderful to celebrate around the world!

catslady said...

I just heard on the news that not only were the wives there but some of the guys girlfriends too!!!

The whole thing was very amazing.

PJ said...

It was absolutely incredible. I couldn't stop watching and I joyfully cried with each miner who reached the surface.

I was amazed at all the details the doctors and engineers had thought of before starting the rescue process. I doubt there were many, if any, contingencies that hadn't been included in the planning.

How wonderful that so many countries were able to come together and work together to save these men. How sad that so many countries are unable to do that every day.

PJ said...

Catslady, from what I heard on TV last night and the radio this morning, there were several mistresses who showed up at the vigils and...Oops!...made the acquaintance of wives who had no knowledge of their existence. One of the miners had written a note to his wife of 20+ years (after they established communication with the miners) telling her he wanted to renew their marriage vows when they got out. After she met his mistress of 10 years at the vigil she refused to come to the mine last night and when he stepped out of the capsule he was greeted by the mistress who threw herself into his arms. He looked a bit stunned.

catslady said...

Yes, I just saw it on the news. One of the newscasters said he probably wanted to go back down the hole lol.

I also found out that the company that made the special drill bit is near where I live in PA and they stayed there 37 days and left before the men came out because they said their job was done. They wren't looking for the limelight. nice.

Christie Ridgway said...

I didn't know about the Colorado driller! Yay him.

I also watched hours of it. Did the President of Chile and his wife stay the entire time? He was always there when I was watching and standing up, too!

It looks as if most of them shaved before rescue and I'm thinking somebody had to play group barber. What a story!

Cindy Gerard said...

Lots of human drama going on both above and below the ground :o)

There was even a baby born to one of the miners while he was down there.
These guys are already having all kinds of $$$ offers for their stories, movie rights, etc.

And alas, the happy high cannot last forever - I'm sure there will be lawsuits filed ... because that's the way it works these days :o(

But for now - the joy is infectious!

Cindy Gerard said...

I'm not sure, Christie. I know both of them were there a lot.

One news story I saw said they actually built a small tent city for the families, complete with a little red school house. All this in the middle of the driest dessert on the face of the earth - another surprise because I would have bet money that the driest desert was in the middle east.