David Shepherd: News Blog

Journalist's Notebook

Half of the Chilean Miners Have Been Rescued; Effort Continues

By: David Shepherd [dshepherd@wtwo.com] – Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Photo: AP

COPIAPO, CHILE – – It’s been a long, tough road for 33 trapped miners and their families.  Wednesday, after being buried 2,300 feet below the surface in a refuge chamber for 70 days, more than half of the miners have been reunited with their families.

The reunion is emotional, celebratory, and brief.  In moments, they are put on a stretcher and rushed to an on-site medical facility where they are examined by a team of doctors.

As of 1:00 ET, 17 miners had been lifted through the narrow opening and brought to safety.

CNN is reporting President Barack Obama watched television news coverage of the operation to rescue the miners.  Robert Gibbs, the White House Press Secretary said Mr. Obama saw it as a “tremendously inspirational story.”

The rescue operation started Tuesday night.

Underground camera shows rescue workers placing a trapped miner in the capsule that will lift him 2,300 feet to the surface.

10:57 ET – – – The first miner entered the rescue capsule and began the process of being lifted to safety.  The family of 31-year-old miner Florencio Avalos anxiously waited at the top of the rescue shaft for him to be lifted the 2,300 feet from the refuge chamber to the surface.

11:11 ET – – – The first of the rescued miners made it to the surface.  Chile’s President and the family of Florencio Avalos briefly greeted him before he was rushed to the on-site medical facility to be seen by a doctor.

The rescue workers, family and friends cheered and exchanged hugs moments after Avalos was freed.  Moments later, another rescue worker headed down to continue with the long rescue process.

11:30 ET – – – Chile’s President made an official announcement to that the first trapped miner has been rescued.  He thanked the rescue workers and says he hopes the rescue efforts will continue to show what the engineers and the people of Chile are capable of.  He wished the miners a full and happy life.  He calls the operation emotional and clean.

“In this operation, the Chileans have shown the best of themselves.”

Chile’s President acknowledges the mine has a long history of problems and vows to build a memorial at “Camp Hope” as a tribute to the miners and the families for all of the turmoil they’ve been through these past months.

This crisis began on August 5 when 700,000 tons of rock collapsed and trapped the 33 miners more than 2,000 feet underground.


October 13, 2010 Posted by | News & Current Events, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment