Disaster Strikes a Chilean Mine
On August 5, 2010, employees of Minera San Esteban Primera woke up, stretched out, bathed, ate breakfast, and walked around their assuredly modest homes. They said their casual goodbyes to family as they headed off to yet another dark day at work deep in the San Jose copper mine in northern Chile. Little did they know it would be the last time for nearly two months they would see the light of day. These same blessings of life they most likely took for granted earlier that day - to be able to stretch out, to bathe, to eat, and to walk around in the comfort of their own homes - would be taken from them unexpectedly later that same day.
Some time around the miners' lunch time on August 5, 2010, the upper galleries of the private copper mine collapsed trapping the miners. Many on the outside feared the worst. After all, when the collapse occurred the miners should have been in or near the hazard zone on their way out for their lunch break. Furthermore, with limited necessities such as food, water, and oxygen it was unknown whether the miners could have survived. "Liliana Ramirez, the wife of one of the oldest minders trapped, said she had faith all along that they were still alive and that she knew that her husband would never let his fellow workers perish" (Hughes, 2010). Families of the missing miners, like Liliana Ramirez, started gathering and camping out at the mine's surface since the collapse was first disclosed.
Finally, 17 days after the collapse occurred, on August 22, 2010, the 33 trapped miners were discovered alive and doing considerably well. Drilling probes discovered the refuge area located 2,297 feet underground (Hughes, 2010). At that time loved ones were able to send inspirational, encouraging, and heart-felt messages down through the probes to their trapped miners. The miners were able to inform those above how they were faring. Upon hearing of her...