No one has ever survived underground this long before. Oh, there have been rescues, but none, none nearly this long. In 2002, the Quecreek mine disaster, Somerset County, Pennsylvania, had nine miners trapped for 78 harrowing hours as mine water levels rose, endangering the mens’ lives as mine rescue teams frantically drilled and pumped.
The Chilean Government put out the call for help and the world responded. There was video and communications equipment from Japan and, from Germany, a special cable with which the mine rescue vehicle was to be winched up and down the rescue shaft. Two American companies supplied the best drilling and drill bit technology available anywhere in the world and the skilled experts to supervise and do the work.
The Chilean Government took the lead under the dynamic leadership of President Sebastian Pinera. Chile did everything in her power to facilitate the rescue. No effort was spared and no stone left unturned, as the rescuers tried to anticipate virtually every conceivable issue in bringing 33 men back from certain death in a rocky tomb, over 2,000 feet down after 69 days.
That these men survived at all is due in no small part to the courage and resourcefulness of the workers themselves. Probably the single greatest factor in the miners’ survival was the indomitable will and spirit of their shift boss Luis Urzua, who took charge and led with wisdom and skill. In the Military, we give the Medal Of Honor to such men.
I thought for a while that I was going to have an Obama-free night. I was also hesitant to write about the San Jose mine rescue because everyone else out there was focused on it too. But it is just too fine a story of human courage, determination, and inspiration to pass on. I know something about mines and mining, so I can testify as to just how great a miracle this rescue is. If you want to check out some really grim statistics, look at all the mine accidents through the years… the fatality count versus the pitifully few that have been, by God’s grace, saved.
Chile is no superpower, yet she flawlessly pulled off a highly complex operation with multiple facets in order to effect the rescue, and did it in virtually half the time of the initial estimates.True, she had a lot of help and advice (which she had the very good sense to listen to), but isn’t that what neighbors are for?
I can’t help but contrast Chile’s leadership with our own in similar circumstances. Obama was tried and found wanting. He really looks and acts tepid. His once soaring rhetoric has a desperate tone behind it. Every single person who saw what the Chilean faithful will be calling “the miracle of San Jose” on worldwide television and on the internet cannot help but think back to Barack Obama’s faltering, grudging response to the gulf oil spill, which he used as an excuse for shutting down our drilling nationwide with a phony moratorium.
I really can’t wait for November 2. These DeMarxists have to go. We’ll take care of retiring the emperor-with-no-clothes in 2012.
Semper Vigilans, Semper Fidelis
© Skip MacLure 2010