RSS
The Chilean miners' rescue plan: 5 intriguing facts
If all goes well, the "miracle miners" will be back on the surface soon. But their captivating saga is far from over
 
A man works next to the drill used in the rescue of 33 trapped miners in Chile.
A man works next to the drill used in the rescue of 33 trapped miners in Chile.
Corbis

The Chilean miners trapped 2,300 feet underground since Aug. 5 are entering what rescuers hope is the final stage of their subterranean imprisonment. A mineshaft down to the chamber is almost complete, and rescuers are assembling the equipment required to bring each of the 33 miners back to the surface. Here are five notable facts about the final days of the miners' ordeal:

1. The men will be saved by a "mythical" device
The miners' rescue capsule arrived at the mine site this week. Dubbed "The Phoenix," the cigar-shaped cage is 13 feet long and just 21 inches wide. "We have called it Phoenix because I think it will bring about a rebirth of the miners, and a new life for them," said Chile's mining minister.  The capsule is expected to start lifting the men out of their underground chamber next month, a process that will likely continue until early November. The journey to the surface will take each miner about 30 minutes.

2. The cures for the underground blues? Jim Carrey and group therapy
The miners are currently working to clear away rubble from the rescue shaft, but they have plenty of down-time between shifts. The rescuers have provided the miners with a makeshift TV and an array of upbeat Hollywood movies, including Jim Carrey's The Mask. The miners also keep their spirits up with a daily group therapy session — they have nicknamed it "showing their cards" — in which they discuss their "disagreements, plans and achievements."

3. The miners are being groomed for stardom
The 33 miners are set to receive media training to prepare them for the celebrity status that awaits them above ground. While people around the world have been captivated by the broader story, Chile's media seems particularly interested in the "miracle" white butterfly two miners claimed to have seen right before the ceiling collapsed — they slowed their truck to see the curious sight, stopping them from being submerged beneath the rockfall.

4. Every man already has dozens of new jobs offers
Although the company that operated the collapsed mine has gone bankrupt, the Chilean government has sought new jobs for the 33 trapped underground. The response? At least 1,188 job offers, none of which require working underground.

5. After the accident, Hope was born
Miner Ariel Ticona's wife gave birth to their first daughter Sept. 14, and the birth was taped so the trapped 29-year-old could watch it after his rescue. Ticona and his wife, Elizabeth Segovia, had agreed to call the child Carolina, but Ticona sent a message to his wife after hearing the good news. "Tell her to change the name of our daughter," he said via fiber optic cable. "We're going to name her Esperanza." The word, which means "hope" in Spanish, is also the name of the temporary camp family members have built outside the mine. Segovia tearfully agreed to the change.

 

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week