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Chilean Miners Rescue: One Of The Greatest Human Achievements In History

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Thirty-three Chilean miners, trapped underground in Chile for 69 days, were all rescued and are alive. This amazing event has resonated across the globe for a range of reasons.  It has also taken its place with other great accomplishments in history.   

Chilean Miners

Imagine something happening to you that was terrifying, but not impossible to recover from. You find yourself trapped in your home because the roof has collapsed. You and your family are alive.  After having time to collect your thoughts and regain your strength, reality sets in. Realizing that it might not take too long for help to arrive, you become hopeful.   

The Chilean miners faced a different predicament, because they had no basis of comparison. They chose not to give up though and survived by believing in those among them and in those above them.  Their faith in others was vindicated through the use of two powerful drills and the now famous Fenix capsule, which was designed by NASA.

On August 7, 2010 two days had passed since the copper and gold mine had collapsed in Chile's northern Atacama desert. Rescue workers began their efforts to reach the miners, but a new cave-in had blocked any progress from being made. By August 22, a drill had reached the miners. They tied a note to the drill before it was pulled back up. 

The note stated that everyone was in a shelter where food and water had been stocked, in case of emergencies, and that they were all okay. A community had formed in this real-life version of “Lost.”  Employees everywhere could benefit by using this situation to reexamine any petty differences they have with their co-workers.     

One local company, Schramm, Inc., was directly involved in helping to solve this unique dilemma. They had produced the two drills that bore through  solid rock, which was almost one half mile deep.  A product made with quality that was obviously built to withstand any circumstances. 

Collaboration often produces greater results than can be achieved alone. Consider what happened in 1960 when Swiss scientist Jacques Piccard and United States Navy Lt. Donald Walsh joined forces. Piccard developed a new idea that used gasoline to flood the floats and air tanks of a submarine. This process caused the maned vessel to sink at a much quicker rate than had previously been possible and allowed the ocean floor to be reached for the first time in history.  

Another key element that came into play at the mine was the assistance that many countries, including our own, offered to the Chilean government. Their willingness to Sir Edmund Hillary & Tenzing Norgayaccept those offers placed the greater good ahead of bureaucracy. A lesson that is not always easy to follow, but one that should be modeled in times of crisis by all governments.

Similar collaboration between nations occurred after a manned United States rocket landed on the moon in 1969. As time moved forward, many previously competing countries began to jointly pursue stellar goals. A mix of cost savings and camaraderie enabled various former enemies to work together on projects like the space station.  

Finally, there are many individual human accomplishments where comparisons can be drawn. Similar feats of conquering vast distances have occurred when Captain Matthew Webb first swam the English Channel in 1875, or when Gertrude Ederle crossed it in 1926.  In 1932, Amelia Earhart flew solo in her airplane across the Atlantic Ocean and in 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay became the first people to climb Mount Everest. 

This most recent example of exceptional human achievement culminated on October 13, 2010, when the last of 33 Chilean miners were rescued in Chile. 

Those who were involved in that effort did not place limits upon what they believed could be accomplished. Once again we were reminded that the depth of human greatness is too infinite to measure.

Contact Sean O'Brien at seanboru68@yahoo.com