The world watched as each miner was safely brought back to the surface after spending 69 days trapped 2,300 ft underground.
A story that captivated the world and proved that happy endings don't only happen in fairy tales
By Sara Nichols
After being trapped underground for 69 days, the world watched
on Oct. 13 as one by one, Chile's 33 miners emerged from the
dark innards of the Earth.
The story of each man and their struggle to survive under such
harsh conditions captivated the world.
Viewers watched for two months as the miners cheered their
favorite soccer team, sang the Chilean national anthem and maintained their spirit and moral despite the conditions they faced.
Their stories became a symbol of hope and perseverance, a tale
that will not be easily forgotten.
As each man was lifted out, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera
greeted each with a warm embrace.
"We had promised to look until we found them," Pinera told
CNN on Oct. 14.
In Santiago, the Chilean capital, people watched the rescue on
a big screen TV set up in a town square and celebrated and wept
tears of joy as each miner was lifted up. People also celebrated in
Chilean embassies around the world.
Pinera was on site nearly every day since the mine first collapsed until the last miner and rescuer was lifted up. It was his
presence and commitment to bringing all the miners to surface
alive that gave hope and faith to the families and the world that this
story would not have a tragic end.
"The miners, their families, the rescue workers, the government and all the Chileans have shown unity, strength, faith, hope,
that is recognized and admired by the whole world," Pinera told
CNN on Oct. 9. "This shows that when Chileans unite for great
causes, regardless how grand or ambitious they may seem, we are
always able to reach our goals and conquer the highest peaks."
The rescue cost the Chilean government between $10-20 million, and Pinera said, "it was all worth it."
Psychology senior Kathleen Cole de Gonzalez closely followed
the news coverage of both the time during which the miners were
trapped and the 22 V£-hour rescue mission to free them.
"I can only imagine that it must have been a rollercoaster of
emotion going from fear of dying to hopes of rescue and back and
forth and everything in between," Cole de Gonzalez said. "I am
sure it is an experience they will carry the rest of their lives."
As the miners emerged from the bottom of the earth, fears
arose as to their physical and emotional well-being.
Cole de Gonzalez said there are an infinite number of psychological effects that could result from the miners' time spent in a
small, dark shaft 2,300 feet under ground, but a lot depends on
the miners' experience, support and environment. She said part
of the miner's ability to stay positive and keep faith is connected
to the strong family values and traditions in Hispanic cultures, in
which these are more important than independence and oneself.
"The Chileans are more collectivism I could not say exactly how
they must feel or felt," she said. "(But) I do not think an average
American could spend 69 days with 32 other people in extremely
close quarters without violence."
Cole de Gonzalez also said she thinks the connected culture aids with the healing process, because the miners will have
more people they can rely on for support — both emotionally and
"In a collectivist society, people tend to recover faster when
they have extreme familial support," she said. "I can only hope that
any emotional or physical obstacles are recovered from quickly."
After the rescue, the miners have themselves become celebrities, not only in Chile, but also here in America.
CNN honored them at its annual Heroes ceremony in
November at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. All the miners
walked out on stage to open the ceremony, carrying the Chilean
flag and thanking the world for its support and well-wishes.
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