The Chilean 33

Elation at discovering 33 miners still alive after over two weeks of looking for them is giving way to the reality that it will take roughly 4 months to get them out.

Via the BBC:  Fate of Chile’s trapped miners excites guarded hope

Relatives of the 33 miners, who are trapped below, are celebrating the simple fact that their loved ones are alive after 19 days underground.

But it is an optimism tempered by realism. There is a growing acknowledgment that it will be months, not days or weeks, before this rescue operation is over.

With supplies reaching the miners through a narrow borehole, the focus now has switched to drilling a second hole – this one much wider – that will eventually be used as an escape route.

But experts warn it could take up to four months.

As wonderful is the news that the miners are still alive, it is impossible to think about their plight and not have a great deal of empathy.  What a horrible situation.

The piece contains the following diagram:


A video report from the BBC can be viewed here.

The Times of London has some very informative graphics here.

FILED UNDER: Latin America, World Politics, , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. If I was these guys, I’m not sure whether I’d want to know the truth about how long it’s going to take to rescue me or not

  2. James Joyner says:

    At least they’re able to get them supplies.  But, eeks, four months trapped in that confined space can’t be fun.

  3. Can we lower them some laptops so they can blog and tweet while down there?  How about some TV cameras and make it a reality show?

    I have trouble sitting still at my desk more than 15 minutes at a time.  I wish them the best.

  4. The Q says:

    Ok, we got some good news and some bad news, the good news is you’re alive, the bad news is you’re gonna be spending Christmas down there.

  5. Something I don’t get: why are they drilling down to them from the surface rather from that offshoot that occurs shortly before the “Aug 5 Rockslide”?  Seems that would be significantly faster.

  6. I had a similar thought, although I also heard that they had to be cautious in terms of drilling because of instability in the mine itself.

  7. David says:

    Oh, and Q, they already KNEW they were alive, so it’s actually NO good news, just the bad news.