The men trapped in the Chilean mine shaft was one of the world’s most successful operations to release miners from the long underground entrapment. The problem or controversy lied in the government restricting information to the men trapped and censoring and losing letters to the miners sent to them from their family and friends. The people thought this was unjust and failed to realize what rescue mission are all about. Psychological effects
The letters sent by friends and family of the Chilean workers trapped underground were being kept by authorities due to the content and the authorities belief that it may have severe psychological impact. Authorities’ course of action caused uncertainty and further unseated the miners. Angry relatives were outraged and confronted government officials outside the cave of the San Jose mine. What the families failed to realize is how their form of communication could unintentionally adversely affect their mental state to the relatives or friends trapped under ground. The family’s side
One of the miners, Victor Zamora, expressed his complaints to his family about receiving only one letter from them. He feared that his relatives were hiding things from him. His wife, Jessica Cortes, said that the family had sent at least fifteen letters and explained that she wrote daily, also his brothers and mother had sent many letters as well. What she never thought is what the most important thing was for those miners, uncensored communication with family at the risk of the miner’s mental health or freedom. Letters screened
According to Jessica Cortes, there was a team of young women who were described as psychologist who read every letter and would place them in a
bag and would only send letters to the miners that they deemed appropriate. The partial reason for this process was due to some miners having more than one woman or several. Reading and holding some of the mail was partially put in place to avoid troubling the miners from their women conflicts.
In the beginning there were receiving roughly 33 letters and as the number of incoming letters increased into the hundreds it began to take up too much space, space that could be used to send food and water. Ultimately the rescue party chose food and water over letters and told the families to keep in mind that they were running a rescue operation, not a communications exercise (Solar, L. 2010). They were right in continuing with the rescue mission and not giving too much priority in sending mail because the most important thing is to get everyone out safely. Communication is a luxury that the rescuers and the company allowed to keep the men sane, but the priority should be rescue. Trapped for months
During their entrapment the bicentennial celebration of the Chilean Independence day came up and the miners had requested wine and empanadas, along with cigarettes, which is a traditional celebratory menu. Although the psychologist on cite had considered the possibility of granting their request, with the support of health officials they denied the request by saying, “This is an emergency; we are not celebrating. The Chilean mining industry has 600 years of tradition and drinking inside the mine is not allowed,” said Iturra. Again this is a rescue mission not a mean of celebration and communication. If the people could see where the officials are coming from and why they deny certain requests they would be thankful that they care more about getting them out quickly than keeping them essentially imprisoned within a mine drunk and with lots of letters. Conclusion
Search and rescue is defined as the search for and provision of aid to people who are in imminent danger or distress. Rescue missions are difficult, time consuming and stressful for all parties involved. Communication between families and the distressed individuals is not a necessity and only further impeaches on the rescue mission itself. People fail to realize that although it is nice to be able to make contact with family and friends that are in these types of scary situation it is a privilege awarded by authorities not a right. Their priority is to get people out safely in this case it was the collapse of a mine that entrapped several miners.
Franklin, J. (2010). Trapped Chilean miners, families frustrated over mail delivery. Retrieved from, The Washington Post. Johnson, B. (2010). Why is the rescue of the miners in Chile taking so long? Retrieved from about.com Solar, L. (2010). Digital Journal. Retrieved from http://digitaljournal.com/article/297127