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33 Miners Trapped

In: Business and Management

Submitted By chrisiem2004
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Thirty-three workers became trapped during a Chilean copper mine collapse near the northern town of Copiapó, Chile on August 5, 2010. The tragedy captured the attention of media, and audiences, around the world alike. Once reported, hopes and prayers went out the trapped workers, the workers families and the rescue workers from the hearts of many. During severe heart-wrenching incidents, such as this, it is important to consider the roles of those involved. The potential needs of the workers, whose lives were at stake, and the needs of their families become extremely important when discussing the incident. It is important to know how to address everyone involved while considering their needs.

Waking up on August 5, 2010 was no different from any other day for these workers. The miners kissed and hugged their family members before heading off to work in the Chilean copper mine. The day had been the same as the day before for the miners. Close to the time for the miners to take their lunch break, the tunnel collapsed leaving them trapped 300 meters below ground level. Other miners feared that the thirty-three miners still inside the mine were in the disaster zone when the collapse happened. The workers that were trapped had to have been scared not knowing if they were ever going to be able to see loved ones again. For 16 days, the workers had no communication from the outside world, and no way for the outside world to communicate back to them. Fear, itself is scary, but fear and being trapped had to be scarier. The miners had no clue as to what was being done to get them out safely, nor did they know if anyone was even working on getting them out. On the 17th day of being trapped down in the mine, the rescue workers had drilled a small bore hole that had reached the miners’ refuge. From the refuge, the workers sent up a message telling rescuers and everyone around the world that they were still alive. The workers then received a message via letter letting them know that rescue workers were working on getting them out of there safely, but it could take an estimated time of 4 months, but they were hoping to have them out by Christmas. To ensure that the workers got the message and would not give up hope that they will get out alive, family members sent down letters to the miners telling them that they had every reason to believe that they will come out alive to be with them. Ventilation shafts had survived the mine’s collapse, and allowed enough fresh air to reach the refuge chamber, where the miners would call home for the next 2 months. To make sure the miners stayed in good physical and mental fitness, fresh clothes and games were sent down the bore hole. The miners were also instructed to divide their living area into parts, one for resting and sleeping, one for diversion, one for eating, and another for working. Those people involved in the communication with the trapped workers communicated hope, support and love to each trapped miner, and helped get them through that trying time.

As family members said their good byes to the miners on August 5, 2010, they had no idea that day would become a dreadful day for them. Some Chilean miners’ family members heard of the disaster from others who were in the area and came to see if their loved ones were okay, while others were notified by workers who had made it out of the mine. Once finding out that their loved ones were trapped in the mine, family members flocked to the mine to await the safe arrival of their loved ones. The family members of the trapped workers, had mounted a constant vigil in a tent city, dubbed Camp Hope, outside the copper mine. While awaiting word on their loved ones, they were told that it could take about 4 months to safely have each miner out of the mine. Some family members had almost given up hope of ever getting to see their loved ones alive, but on the 17th day of the miners being trapped down in the mine, family members were informed that contact was made with the workers and that they were safe in a refuge chamber. Family members and the trapped miners exchanged letters, giving every one of them hope that they will be out by Christmas. The fact that family members were able to talk to other family members of the miners, and the trapped miners themselves, gave hope to all through that long, grueling time.

This tragedy, was handled with care. The rescuers quickly had made a plan A and B, and didn’t let anything hamper their rescue efforts. The Family members felt the strain of not knowing if their loved ones were alive, but never gave up hope. The trapped miners stayed calm after finding out that rescue workers and family members didn’t give up on finding them. I personally think that this situation was handled with the utmost care for all parties. The government even involved NASA, asking them how the miners should go about living in such a closed cramped space. One miner sent a letter to his wife asking her to re-marry him in a church, since they married 25 years ago in a civil ceremony, which kept both strong mentally and physically. With the needs of the miners being considered, the trapped miners received hygiene supplies, games and entertainment to keep them busy for the two months they were trapped. Family members’ needs were met, by being able to stay close to the trapped miners in a tent city, dubbed Camp Hope, and by communicating with the miners by letter. In this case effective communication was the key to helping keep family members and the miners from losing hope of ever seeing each other again alive.

Hughes, H. (2010). 33 trapped chilean miners found alive, but could be stuck 4 months. Retrieved from http://abcnews.go.com/International/33-trapped-chilean-miners- found-alive-stuck-months/story?id=11457872 The New York Times. (2011). Chile mining accident (2010). Retrieved from http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/c/chile_mining_accident_20 10/
Parry, W. (2010). Chile mine collape: facts about the amazing survival story. Retrieved from http://www.livescience.com/11169-chile-collapse-facts-amazing-survival-story.html# NBCNEWS. (2010). Trapped chilean miners told rescue could take months. Retrieved from http://www.nbcnews.com/id/38852964/
Penhaul, K. (2010). Trapped chilean miners talk with family members. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/americas/08/29/chile.miners/
Weik, J. (2010). Over 30 workers trapped after chilean copper mine collapse. Retrieved from http://www.apollolibrary.com/Library/err/ElectronicReserveReadings.aspx

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