Hours to Chile miners rescue, 33 men need a calm head below and above ground
With the Chile miners rescue set to begin Tuesday evening, concerns loom about how the 33 men will fare during their ride to the surface and upon their reentry to society.
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Authorities gave the rescue a green light after the shaft was reinforced Monday and unmanned test runs descended successfully to the chamber nearly 2,000 feet underground. Five rescue experts will descend into the mine to oversee the operation and will be the last to leave.Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures Chile mine collapse
In Pictures Chile mine rescue
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Each ascent should take about 15 minutes, Mining Minister Laurence Golborne said today. In the case of emergency, the capsule can be sped to the surface much faster, Health Minister Jaime Mañalich said.
Mr. Mañalich said the miners won't be given any kind of sedation for the journey, as they will have to be fully aware of what is going on in case anything goes wrong during the hoist. The first miners to be lifted up will be the healthiest ones and will be asked to provide real-time information about their experiences, so that the miners who follow them will not be alarmed by bumps and other glitches along the way.
The 33 are "pretty calm," Mining Minister Laurence Golborne told reporters today in a press conference. "They are working on their own things. Preparing the move. They are helping us with the platform that needed to be built into the tunnel. They are working with the communications people, giving us some lines to establish video, TV image of the point where the Phoenix will land, so they are very busy."
Another ordeal begins
But their ordeal does not end there, says Mr. Marin. Men who previously lived in anonymity have now had their images, their backgrounds, even personal information about their families, broadcast around the globe. This fame could be hard for many to deal with.
As they reach the surface, they will face an onslaught of questions by a world curious to hear of their amazing survival story. There are more than 1,000 journalists on site vying for information.
The miners received a week of media training by the Chilean Security Association. The first thing they were taught to say was “no.”
“I told them that outside they are going to be in contact with people with many questions, but there is a code between us, the journalists, which says that you [the miners] can answer the questions that you most understand or that you want to answer,” Alejandro Pino, the regional director of the Chilean Safety Association, was quoted as saying in La Tercera. “I told them they have the right to not answer anything they consider indiscreet.”
Marin speculates that the men could face troubles when the time comes for them to get back to work. “Immediately they should not have problems with income, but they will not have pensions for the rest of their lives,” he says. “For some it will be complicated. Some of them only know how to do mining, and it is there they will have to confront certain fears.”