One by one, some forty minutes apart, the trapped miners in Chile are emerging from a half-mile under the ground and into a hero’s welcome. The first of the thirty-three came up just past midnight local time and by mid-morning, thirteen had climbed into the rescue capsule nicknamed ‘the Phoenix’ and taken the smooth ride to the surface
Still, the men have been taking stiff precautions – all are being watched for signs of panic during the ascent. They are also wearing protective sunglasses, along with compression socks to prevent blood clotting and sweaters for a drastic change in temperature from down below to up above.
You’re looking at the second man to come up. He said that during the sixty-nine days under the ground he was with both God and the devil; and he reached out for God. But these men and their families aren’t the only ones celebrating – the country has been swept up in the occasion – watching on screens in plazas and celebrating wildly throughout the night.
All of the men are being taken to hospitals for evaluations, and even their ambulances were greeted by bands playing for the country’s newest heros.
What’s next for these men isn’t clear – they have become instant celebrities and their mining days could be over. But for now the country is simply transfixed with getting them to safety – a task that could be over by the end of the day.