2,300 Feet Down

Every time I start thinking about those first 17 days (not to mention months to come) for the Chilean miners I get goosebumps.   Guess is they were doing lots of praying.  Given two spoonfuls of tuna and half a cookie every two days, they sure weren’t doing much eating.

And then the miracle happened.  The drill bit through the rock and the desperate miners stuck a note to the bit saying they were all alive.  Speaking of rock, that kinda rocked the world.

For the next chunk of time, they were funneled food, medicine and even soccer videos to help them stay physically and emotionally fit until the workers above cleared the path for the NASA designed rescue “rocket” to ferry them up the 2,300 feet to the surface.

And up they came, one after one into the xenon light to hug Chile’s ever-present President and their wives, families and even mistresses.

I was watching the first miner come up….the fittest in case he had to deal with falling rocks or sudden drops.  It played out live on Anderson Cooper’s show at about midnight.  As I watched the miner emerge and hug his wife and the President as the crowd roared and air horns blasted, I thought that this could be the biggest PR boost that Chile has ever seen.  It also felt like a terrible invasion of the privacy of these miners (though they sure looked no worse for the wear).

Think about it, live TV cables, reporters, politicians, family members…yes, even mistresses…all whooping it up as the shade-wearing miners surfaced one by one.  Lots of people win – the world in need of good news, the government of Chile that produced “the greatest show on Earth,” the families and the miners who will probably ink a deal for a TV movie within 48 hours.

What’s lost?  I think a bit of humanity.  These guys were 2,300 feet down for 69 days.  Who needs the world watching as you emerge, blinking, from a near death experience?  I felt a bit vindicated in my thinking when Anderson said out loud exactly what was on my mind.  Great TV story…too public a re-entry.

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