Have you ever felt caged by situations and it seemed there was no way out? Your experience is nothing compared to that of 33 hardworking miners in 2010 in Chile when they were trapped in a mine. The Copiapó mining accident occurred on August 5th at the San José copper-gold mine, Atacana Desert. The miners were trapped about 2,300 feet underground. Families gathered, rescuers laboured, engineers strategised, media reported, but there was nothing like being trapped about 700 metres underground for 69 days. When the mine caved in, a large granite rock with an estimated height of 450 feet, width of 330 feet, thickness of 100 feet and weight of 700,000 tons blocked the miners 5 kilometres from the entrance.
For 17 days, they could not tell if any effort was being made to rescue them until the first drill broke through. They lived largely in darkness, experienced serious heat and could only ration their grossly limited food. While the efforts to save them was highly commendable, more amazing was the strength of the 33 miners to survive physically, mentally and emotionally underground. Their survival strategies may be useful for you:
- Courage: this is one of the strongest qualities for survival. Fear is a major contributory factor in deaths recorded during emergencies. It has been reported that it is actually possible to die of fear. Extreme fear causes a surge of adrenaline in the body sending the heart to a level of overdrive. Jeff Wise told the story of a 26-year-old woman who was trapped in an elevator for half-an-hour when there was a blackout in her neighbourhood. Because she was in a small space in darkness and could not use her cell phone, she panicked. She was discovered unconscious after 30 minutes and she later died in the hospital. Compare 30 minutes with 69 days! Don’t give in to fear.
- Hope: hope is one of the strongest assets in the fight for survival. It is a deliberate choice to believe there is a reason to fight. Whereas, hopelessness is a feeling of despair, through which all desire to fight is lost. It has been reported that hopelessness is one of the major causes of suicide. World Health Organization research published by Spectator Index on July 29, 2018 showed that out of every 100,000 suicide cases in the world, 15,000 were from Nigeria. Now, of all the reasons to be hopeless, in my opinion, being trapped underground for 16 days without knowing of any attempt of rescue tops the list. Even worse is the fact that rescue was not achieved until the 69th and 70th It is amazing that not a single miner died in the incident. If they could hope in such an impossible situation, I believe you can too.