Over a billion people watched live on broadcasts as 33 Chilean miners, who had been trapped 2,300 feet underground for 69 days, were finally brought safely to the surface of the Copiapó Mine in Chile’s Atacama Desert back on October 13, 2010. Do you remember hearing about that incident? With a Chilean sister-in-law, I was especially interested in the ordeal, but I had no real appreciation for what it must have been like until watching The 33. This dramatized retelling of events starts with a stark and startling fact: 1,200 miners are killed every year somewhere around the world in mining accidents. From there, The 33 carefully sets the stage for the disaster, bringing to warm life the 33 men who went underground that fateful day. The 121-year-old San Jose Mine was already very unstable, and on August 5th the main ramp into the mine collapsed, trapping the miners. The next day, “the heart of the mountain,” a huge rock twice the size of the Empire State Building, totally crushed the 3 miles of spiraling service ramps, blocking the country’s frantic efforts to rescue the miners. The 33 is both heart-wrenching and heartwarming all at the same time. What the men endured seems almost unbearable, but the outpouring of love and the determination of their families to rescue the miners was incredibly inspirational.
I couldn’t help but marvel at the courage of these men and the fact that they learned to love each other like brothers
rather than destroying one another during such a trying test of their human spirits.
It’s one of those facts-are-stranger-than-fiction miraculous stories, and I can only believe that they survived because, as they themselves testified when they emerged: “God was with us.” Praise God for being who He is—always with us! “If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.” (Psalm 139:8-10)
(The first photo is from Wiki. Most of the photos were from the movie or movie posters. I took the 3 black and white pictures during the end of the movie, and I believe they are pictures of the actual miners, taken when the movie was made.)