But even as we wait to see if all men make it safely to the top, it is not too early to salute the Americans who pitched in to help as well with the U.S. technology that proved so vital. After a long dry spell, it is so refreshing to see us at our best again.
The U.S.-Chilean company Geotec Boyles Bros., which operated the first drill to reach the miners, assembled help and materials from across the globe.
In Western Pennsylvania, two companies long-trained by mine collapses in that region rushed to action. They had UPS ship south a specialty drill, capable of creating shafts large enough to fit the men without collapsing, within 48 hours. And UPS did it for free.
Then, working with Chilean crews, Geotec’s Kansas-based partner came up with the plan to get the miners to the surface almost two months earlier than the Christmastime date originally projected.
Expert driller Jeff Hart, a contractor from Denver, Colorado, was called from Afghanistan, where he was helping American forces find water, to man the machine. The 40-year-old drilled for 33 days straight, through tough mineral ore, to reach the men trapped more than 2,000 feet below.
His comment after breaking through last week? “We got the job done.”
Three NASA doctors have provided advice on how to keep the miners healthy, both physically and mentally. And the design of the rescue pod is the brainchild of NASA engineer Clinton Cragg. Cragg drew on his experience as a former submarine captain in the Navy and directed a team of 20 to conceive of a small 13- foot-long tube to carry the miners one at a time to the surface.
All told, about a dozen Americans decamped to the desert, and many more labored from home, to rescue the miners.
The 33 Men
Last of Chilean miners is rescued, as families and nation celebrate. In addition to the miners, six rescue workers who had descended into the mine to help with the rescue effort were returned to the surface.
Meanwhile, NPR is posting on Why Obama Needs A Chilean Mine Rescue
(Post re-edited to add information that I omitted on the first draft.)