Chilean miners trapped for over two months are nearing rescue according to CNN. Originally the 33 men were thought to have been awaiting rescue until Christmas. Now a drill has pierced the roof of the chamber where the miners are trapped and they await further detail work before the men are lifted out of the mine. In addition to shoring up the rescue tunnel and preparing the equipment, men will be sent down the shaft to ascertain the condition of the men. The men may not be able to start coming out for another four days to 10 days depending upon if they decide to reinforce the rescue tunnel with steel.
The amazing rescue of 33 trapped miners was no small feat. The fact that they survived the disaster at all is already a miracle and now the families of those underground can celebrate their freedom. Years of experience in mining and rescue operations helped prepare the men for moments like this. Other dramatic rescues have occurred in modern times during times of disaster. Here’s a look at some of the most amazing stories of people being rescued alive during extreme peril.
September 11 World Trade Center
The last two men rescued from the rubble of the World Trade Center were two officers from the New York Port Authority Police. John McLoughlin and Will Jimeno were trapped for 22 hours underground before they were rescued.
McLoughlin described what he was feeling to CBS News. “I thought I had died. I lost all sense. I had no sight. I had no smell. I had no hearing. Everything was just silent.” Of the five men on McLoughlin’s team, only two survived when the buildings fell on them.
The final death toll from Hurricane Katrina was officially 1,836 people. It was the third deadliest hurricane in the United States. At $110 billion in damage and over 275,000 buildings destroyed it was the costliest hurricane ever.
What is even more amazing about Katrina was the rescue effort in the aftermath of what happened. There will be arguments for many years about how the response could have been faster but nothing can take away the 33,500 people who were rescued by Coast Guard helicopters as rescue missions were flown around the clock. The death toll could have been much, much worse if not for the Coast Guard.
The devastating earthquake in Haiti in January 2010 sparked an outpouring of money and relief for the two million residents of Port-au-Prince. Nearly 300,000 people died when buildings collapsed on them that weren’t earthquake-proof.
Despite the massive devastation, one man was pulled from the rubble after 11 days with the only visible sign of injury being dehydration from lack of water. Once the man was located it took three hours to extract him according to CNN.
The Chilean miners have several things working for them. First is that their training prepared them for a possible cave in and they knew what to do. Second is that the mine is stable enough to mount a rescue for the men. Even in the face of enormous odds, people have been rescued from even worse circumstances so there is a good chance all 33 miners will be rescued alive when the final process is complete.
My sources for this article include:
Oppmann, Patrick and Karl Penhaul–Rescue drill reaches 33 trapped Chilean miners from CNN.com.
Leung, Rebecca–Last Man Out from CBS and the “60 Minutes” website.
Hurricane Katrina Relief–Hurricane Katrina Frequently Asked Questions from HurricaneKatrinaRelief.com.
Helicopter History Site–Hurricane Katrina helicopters from Helis.com.
The Telegraph–Haiti’s earthquake death toll revised to at least 250,000 from www.telegraph.co.uk.
CNN–Survivor, apparently unhurt, rescued from rubble after 11 days from CNN.com.