What Would You Do?

For some of us, the idea of being buried alive is a deep-set phobia.  For 33 men in Chile, it’s a reality.  They became trapped on Aug. 5th when an earthquake collapsed parts of the mine around them, trapping them in the chamber where they currently reside.  Reports tell us that they are in good spirits and decent health.  There is a 6” diameter shaft to the surface, through which food, water, medication, and other supplies are being transported.  Drilling to rescue them started Aug. 30th, but is likely to take until Christmas – a “pilot hole” must be drilled first, with a thin ‘bit’, and then larger and larger bits used to widen the hole until they can safely bring the men out.  It is estimated that they are more than a mile underground.

I cannot imagine what those miners are going through, and I cannot imagine what their family members are going through.  On one hand, I can imagine that there is massive relief that the men are not only alive, but only suffered minor injuries.  They remain in good spirits, sending heartfelt but optimistic messages to those on the surface.  There is a medic below who has been able to use the supplies sent to him to vaccinate himself and the men against things like influenza, tetanus, and diphtheria.  Supplies, such as hot food and clean clothes are being ferried through that long hole to them.

I’ve had very limited experience in “survival” situations.  I grew up camping in primitive sites, where my parents took me on ‘forages’ for wild onion, dandelion, and other edible plants.  I can catch, fillet and cook a fish.  I know how and where to build a crude shelter if I ever needed one.  I’ve been through emotionally taxing events in my life.  But nothing – and I consider myself at least as prepared as the average person, and more than many – NOTHING in my life could ever prepare me for something like this.  And I’m the person who gets on the airplane and immediately notices where the exits are, and starts mapping out what I’d do if something happens.  I’ve always done that.  Call it preparedness, paranoia or an active imagination, but it just happens.

So because my brain works that way, I started wondering… what would I want sent down to me, if I was in the position of those miners?  Would I want technology?  A pillow?  Deodorant?  They have the basic necessities – food, water, clean (if stale) air, medical supplies – but it’s estimated that they’re going to be stuck down there until Christmas!

What would you want sent down?  What do you think the people at the surface should send down to the miners?

I do know that I’m sending them the only thing that I can… my hopes and prayers that every one of them – and those who are rescuing them – come out of this safe and sound.

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18 Responses to What Would You Do?

  1. Joy says:

    I can’t even begin to imagine this kind of torture either Laura. This is one of my worst nightmares. I remember in the 70’s, burying people alive was the ultimate horror movie. It was also the plot of a lot of television programs.

    My heart goes out to all of these men as well as the people up on top who are worrying about them. It’s a long time to be down there and it’s a long time waiting and worrying for the family and friends. It’s so cool what we can no do with technology that we found them and can now start the rescue.

    I don’t know what I’d want down there. My blanket and pillow I guess. A way to keep clean. I’m not sure about technology stuff. I think some good books or just a few stacks of playing cards. There would have to be a way to pass the time or I’d be afraid of going nuts. There are so many different ways of playing cards either alone or with other people. I would send down notebooks and pens and a way for people to write or just sit and doodle. Magazines and game books like search and find and sudoku.

    I don’t know really. All I really do know is I worry and pray for all these people. I’m not sure I could survive something like this.

  2. Jason says:

    I don’t want to down play what most of these miners must be feeling, but I did read where one of them was outed. Both his wife and girlfriend came to the site to see it for their own eyes. Both found more than they expected. I bet that is one miner who isn’t in a hurry to get out.

  3. Sue says:

    I don’t think any amount of “dry runs” would prepare me for it actually happening. Not at first anyway when you’re in panic/survival mode. Maybe after I got my head on straight I’d be able to put any survival training to work.

    I don’t know what I’d want sent down either. They are getting what they need and have communication with the outside world so all they can do is be patient. Maybe I’d want something to sleep on and my own pillow even though it won’t be clean for very long.

  4. SKL says:

    How much space do they have to move around? Are they used to being underground for an extended time period, or do they normally come up after every 8 hour shift?

    I wonder if it’s any different from being on a submarine or space shuttle. In any case, we know these folks are at least used to the surroundings down there. Presumably they are not claustrophobic, or they would not have chosen that job. And, at least they are not alone.

    Till Christmas definitely sucks. Do they have enough light to read at all? (Are they literate, for that matter?) Are they able to get a radio signal to hear the news and listen to music?

    I think what I would do in that situation is sing! I had a factory job once where I had to work in very loud surroundings and wear hearing protection for 12 hours at a time. What do you do with your brain for 12 hours without any human interaction? I sang every song I could remember, and then I started all over again. Granted, that’s different from having to wait until Christmas, but heck, might as well sing Christmas carols! Isn’t there one about Jesus coming ASAP?

    Are you old enough to remember the days when people used to plan “fallout shelters” in case of nuclear war? Even though nobody I knew had a shelter, it was interesting to think about what we’d put in there if we did have one. And what about those bomb shelters they had during WWII? What about the attic where Anne Frank lived? I mean, there have been plenty of cases where people had to live a cave-like existence for some time. So, here’s hoping these men find ways to keep their spirits up, and come out of this OK, despite the long wait.

  5. panicmonster says:

    I cannot imagine what they are going through. i pray they get out safe and sound.

  6. mssc54 says:

    I think the biggest thing would be the room they carved out as a bathroom. Can’t even imagine the odor.

  7. shanef says:

    Just shoot me !! I don’t think there’s anyway I could survive mentally. That’s just horrible and the odor would be un-imaginable.

    • Joy says:

      Frankly, I’m not sure I could either Shane. Mentally that is. But then of course like SKL said, I wouldn’t have been able to do a job like that in the first place. It makes my skin crawl just thinking about going into the earth like that.

  8. Nikki says:

    What would I do? Deal with it, as well as I possibly could. I’d ask for some cards, and poker chips! I’d ask for the healthiest food possible, that doesn’t cause bowel problems. Ewwww….I can’t imagine what that smells like down there either. I’d want books, and notebooks to write in. A picture of my family, to help me keep my spirits up. Something to keep myself clean, a toothbrush and chap stick. Anything that will keep me and the others as comfortable as possible. Once you get uncomfortable, you get agitated, then who knows how long you will last, mentally speaking.

    I feel horrible for these men, and I hope like hell they get to them a lot faster than Christmas! My heart goes out to them, and their families!!!

  9. starlaschat says:

    I hope they can get them out before Christmas. I heard they have games and movies that would be helpful to destract the mind. Pillow and toothbrush would be nice. Sad situation but at least they are alive and hopfully, they will all come out OK.

  10. Laura says:

    I don’t know how much space they have down there, but I think I would want something comfy to sleep on – a pillow and a blanket. I’d want some way to move. I’m an avowed couch potato, but after a little while, even the biggest couch potato needs to move.

    My brother brought up a good point – I wonder if there’s enough room to send little tents down? It would be essential to me, I think, to have my own space that I could retreat to. Even on a sub, they have a little space like that.

    I never thought about the “bathroom” problem. Gag!! See, *this* is why I tend to stay above the ground.

    And I agree with Nikki… lip balm is a MUST.

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