Chilean miners trapped ‘till Christmas

Erin Cole, Sports Editor

                After the disappearance of 33 miners near Copiapo, Chile, family and friends were elated to see a letter attached to a drill sent from the group reading, “All thirty three of us are well inside the shelter.” They have been trapped since August 5th, almost a month ago, as a result of a collapsed gold and copper mine, and considering the drastic measures that have to be taken to get them all to safety, it could be months before any of them see daylight.

            Imagining over 30 men stuffed inside a shelter as big as a normal kitchen is bad enough, but taking away their food, water, and oxygen levels only make matters worse. All have survived the first 17 days on 48 hours of supplies and now are being given amenities through a burrow hole made in the ground, but as these men grow anxious with the amount of time they’ve been cooped up underground, situations may only get worse. The Chilean president, Sebastian Pinera, has announced that they will do everything in their power to get the miners on firm ground as soon and efficiently as possible, but since they are about 700 meters (2,300 ft) below ground, it could take up to four months to accomplish this. They plan to do this by using a drill to create a narrow pilot hole and then a larger drill bit to make the whole wide enough to reach the men with a rescue capsule. The miners will also take part in their rescue by clearing away big rocks and debris that will be in the way as a result of the drilling. This is the method that engineer officials found most beneficial, even after considering ten other rescue missions.

            The United States is joining in the effort to free the miners as well, contributing time, energy, money, food, and other necessary supplies. Chile first contacted the U.S. space agency for help and NASA officials stated that they will partake in making sure the miners are healthy while they are confined underground. Even the Secretary-General of the United Nations has recognized this tragic event, stating that his thoughts will be with them as they face the next difficult few months.

            The devastating news that first became known on August 22nd has now become a worldwide concern, bringing together all different nations to join in the efforts to help free these 33 men.