A Brief History
On August 5, 2010, 33 Chilean miners were trapped underground 2300 feet deep in a copper and gold mine, an incredible 3 miles from the entrance to the mine. Their lives certainly seemed to be over, but 69 days later they emerged, alive!
The incident, called the Copiapó mining accident, received frantic efforts by the mine’s owners and then the national mining company to save the miners. Little hope remained 17 days later as rescuers continued to drill exploratory holes to locate the lost men, when rescuers were startled to find a note attached to one of their drill bits telling them all 33 miners were alive!
The government of Chile marshalled all its resources, public and private, and international aid poured in from companies and governments to aid the rescue, including NASA from the United States.
Food and water were sent to the miners, and finally, 69 days after the ordeal began, well over 5 million people around the world watched on television as the last miner was pulled out safely in a special one person at a time capsule. No charges were ever filed after the investigation was complete.
What an extraordinary and highly public “disaster” that went right for a change!
Question for students (and subscribers): What other miraculous rescues can you think of? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Aronson, Marc. Trapped: How the World Rescued 33 Miners from 2,000 Feet Below the Chilean Desert. Atheneum Books, 2019.
Tobar, Hector. Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free. Farrar, Straus and Giroux , 2014.
The featured image in this article, a photograph by Clint Cragg of the pipe used at Copiapó mine to deliver supplies to the trapped miners, is in the public domain in the United States because it was solely created by NASA. NASA copyright policy states that “NASA material is not protected by copyright unless noted“. (See Template:PD-USGov, NASA copyright policy page or JPL Image Use Policy.)
You can also watch video versions of this article on YouTube.