Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Amazing Rescue and Mining In My Life.

Who is not is awe by the rescue of the miners in Chile? 28 men are out as of now with 5 to go. These men are miracles. 2,000 feet down, buried under 700,000 tons of rock for 69 days. They have broken every mine disaster survival record by a landslide. Heck they have broken most disaster records. To be so far down with so few rations and to survive for so long is beyond miraculous. No one in recorded history has survived being trapped this deep for this long. They made 48 hours worth of food last well over 2 weeks. As they are emerging from the depths they are looking to be in better health than anyone could have ever imagined. Some are showing mental issues once they reach the hospital but that is to be expected. I know I would be a basket case if I had endured this.

This is by far not the worlds worst mining disaster. In fact it won't even rate if measured by casualties because lives have not been lost. The survival is what makes this story unique, the amazing rescue is what makes this story unique. Mining in general ranks as one of the deadliest professions in the world. Luckily the US isn't the worst place to be with 69 deaths in 2006-2007 according to MSHA and 11800 injuries reported. Other countries are not so lucky. China reports thousands of deaths each year.

Despite living in a country that tries to protect its miners we all know that does not always happen. We lost 29 coal miners in April of this year. It was one of the deadliest losses in decades for the US. If you also add the deaths related to mining the count jumps. Mining is a hard life. It is a back breaking life. Some of the men (and women but for this purpose I am going to not be politically correct.) choose this life for the money or the job security, some feel they have no other choice as it is the only real job source for miles, others follow behind fathers and uncles, and some just love digging in the earth. Still others do it not for what they pull from the ground but what is formed once the pulling is done. Tunnel builders are miners too, they just don't do it for what is in the ground but what they build beneath it. Hubby has done both. He worked in coal when we were first married as a subcontractor. He did the weld work on the support system. Every day he went 14 miles below ground and welded in a sometimes combustible atmosphere that was always dangerous. He was always in an unstable zone and there to make it more stable. Now he builds tunnels. The jobs he has been on so far have been under the water table so if a cave in occurs there is no chance of a void to keep him safe. Mud and water will fill each and every crevice. If he wasn't crushed he would drown. This newest job seems to be pretty unstable as well. You can never know exactly what every inch of ground is going to be made up of until you are in it despite all the geologic checking in the world. He will still go every day though because he loves it and because his job improves life. In this particular job it ensures a water supply for the area when they are at risk of loosing it.

The family of a miner also has to step up. We have to send our men off every day with a smile knowing they are at risk. We need to be supportive. We need to always understand that they are in a high stress situation for hours every work day and with that comes a need to let off steam. I am blessed that Hubby's release is watching movies and hunting. I also have to hide my fear. Hearing my worry does nothing but take his mind off of his job and that can cause more harm than good. I live knowing that in my husband's case rescue is a slim shot. Recovery is probably even a slim shot. I also will not ever ask him to stop doing what he loves despite the physical and mental toll. I am so proud of him and of the work he does. I will always be proud to be a miner's wife!!

I know there are many other dangerous jobs. There are many men and women who risk their lives every day to do what they do to make the world a better place and many families who love and support them as they do it. I respect each and every one of them immeasurably and am not writing this to take away from them. I am writing this because I want the world to be aware of the amazing job that miners do every day and the stress they face to do it. They deserve more miracles such as the one we are watching today.

1 comment:

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