Rescues are set to begin today of 33 miners trapped for over two months in Chile. Initiation of rescues will begin late tonight or early Wednesday morning.
The rescue capsule, Phoenix 1 successfully completed a test run, which prompted officials to move forward with the rescue attempts. Engineers lowered Phoenix 1 about 2,000 feet with no problems. However, the miners are trapped 12 meters below the capsule’s stopping point during the test run.
Engineers did not want to risk that someone climbing in the capsule before the proper tests reached completion. Although the test run was extremely successful, rescues cannot begin until the concrete anchoring the winch hardens.
Regional manager of the Chilean Safety Association, Alejandro Pino pleaded with reporters not to interfere with miners as they exit and allow them time to embrace and spend time alone with their families. Pino asked reporters to “Let them have long embraces.” It is likely that reporters will respect their privacy as they exit the mine; however, that may be the extent of their private time.
The miners will exit clothed in green overalls with their embroidered name and will receive an embroidered blanket as well after their exit. After the exits and long embraces, families of the miners can expect a media frenzy to begin. Families of miners have already received invitations to make appearances on numerous television shows, visit presidential palaces around the world, and all expense paid vacations. Book and movie deals are also up for grabs.
The world views these miners as working class heroes that deserve celebration. The unlikely heroes have endured a 68-day entrapment in the mine. Sergio Gonzalez, University of Santiago Psychologist reminded the world in a statement saying, “Before being heroes, they are victims. These people who are coming out of the bottom of the mine are different people … and their families are, too.”