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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The great rescue act at CHILE - EVERYBODY IS HAPPY

The whole Nation erupted to joy on seeing Florencio Avalos – the most wanted thing to happen as the whole World was watching intensely.

With the exception of the death penalty, solitary confinement is the most extreme sanction which may be legally imposed on prisoners. Its adverse effects on the health and wellbeing of those subjected to it, particularly for prolonged periods, can be very serious. It is punishment or special form of imprisonment where prisoner is denied contact with any other person. Considered in some ways as a psychological torture, it is a form of protective custody.

To understand the joy, one needs to go back to the gloom of 5th August on which day a tunnel in the San Esteban Mine near Santiago collapsed trapping 33 workers inside at approx 700 metres / 2300 ft below the ground. It was a place dedicated to the exploitation of gold and copper in the Atacama desert of Chile. After a fortnight those trapped could establish some contact with outside world. From that time on, massive efforts are on to bring the trapped miners to earth. The Chilean President has personally supervised the operations and has been there at the site all along.

Initial reports suggested that the rescue efforts would take very long time of more than 4 months and that the miners could reach out only by the next year – that is an exceptionally long time testing the skills, mindset and health of those miners. In what must be termed as the best executed operation, drills were put at three places, known as Plans A, B, and C which proceeded simultaneously. it was the plan B which succeeded first reaching depths twice as deep as the Empire state building. The operations were well planned and 16 highly trained rescuers - members of the Chilean special forces and veterans of previous underground rescues - were stationed there at the site. First a test of the rescue capsule has been carried out successfully, descending almost the whole way down the 622m (680yd) shaft, engineers say. Those trapped were grouped into 3 going by the mine where they were trapped.

Today is the happiest day for Chile as the first four of 33 miners trapped underground have been rescued. The rescue operation began shortly after 2315 local time (0215 GMT) with a technical expert, Manuel Gonzalez, being lowered down the 624m (2,047ft) shaft. Mr Gonzalez was supposed to return to the surface and report on the condition of the rescue shaft, and then repeat the journey, before handing over to a paramedic. However one of the fittest men trapped inside came up instead.

Florencio Avalos was first to reach the surface, at 0010 local time (0310 GMT), after being winched up in a capsule. The BBC reports that Florencio Avalos looked astonishingly relaxed and walked without assistance. The driver emerged from the capsule Phoenix and hugged his seven-year-old son, his wife Monica then Chilean President Sebastian Pinera and other officials. In the mine, he was a member of Grupo 105. He filmed videos to be sent up to the rescuers and relatives on the surface. His brother Renan Anselmo Avalos Silva was also trapped in the mine. Next to emerge were Mario Sepulveda, Juan Illanes and the only non-Chilean, Bolivian national Carlos Mamani.

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera declared the rescue a miracle and thanked the technical experts who had made it possible. The whole rescue including the drilling was meticulously planned. On their journey back to the surface, the miners are to wear "bio-harness" designed for astronauts, which will monitor their heart rate, breathing, temperature and oxygen consumption. At the surface, the miners are to be taken into a triage area, a small container close to the point where the capsule surfaces. There, a doctor will check them for any serious medical conditions. From the triage area, the men are to be taken through a 50m corridor to the field hospital or stabilisation area, where they will be allowed to spend two minutes with one or two family members. The miners will spend about two hours at the field hospital, or stabilisation area. Thirty four containers make up the triage area, field hospital and rest area where they will meet their families. After a thorough check at the field hospital, the men will be allowed to proceed to the rest area, with chairs and tables, where they will be reunited with their closest family members.If they are considered healthy after 48 hours, they will be able to rejoin their families. They can, if they wish, continue to receive psychological counselling.

Certainly a happy news and the efforts of Chilean Govt. are indeed laudable.

Regards - Sampathkumar

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