I did some good crying Tuesday night. I was crying for the San Jose miners as they emerged from the Fenix rescue capsule and onto the surface of the Chilean desert near Copiapo. It was a scene charged with emotion in a country drawn closer by this averted national tragedy. President Sebastian Pinera of Chile was beaming as he hugged each man.
Has there ever been a rescue like this before? I’m not talking about getting miners out, but the intense live international coverage. There were cameras above and below ground. The coverage was live to every corner of the Earth.
Tonight’s rescue was the antithesis of the BP Oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. There nothing went right. Here everything did.
Of course unlike the BP explosion these men survived in a manner fit (and probably destined) for a movie. In Chile it was conveniently possible to ‘pause’ the danger while a rescue was fashioned.
Short of the first miner emerging the best TV moment of the night came when NBC’s Kerry Sanders interviewed one miner’s nervous wife. He deftly moved back-and-forth between English and Spanish translating both his questions and her answers. Her emotions were never lost. It was masterfully simple yet powerful television¹
The first four miners are out. The plan was to bring the four healthiest men out first. Now come the more difficult extractions. The order shifts to least healthy.
The was a worldwide effort. Technology and strategy poured into Chile. Scientists from NASA helped devise the escape capsule and a Pennsylvania company provided the multifunctional drill bit that brought the miners out long before the earlier Christmas prediction.
It’s tough to look away. It feels good to feel good.
¹ – I don’t know him, but I dropped Kerry a note complimenting his work and quickly received a reply. There’s neither running water nor any of the comforts of home, but there’s Internet tonight in Copiapo!