Thursday, 14 October 2010

Chile - a flawless rescue

Most people were utterly gripped by the amazing pictures sent from across the world as the incredible rescue mission unfolded. From my point of view it was an absolute joy to have some good news to report for once. And it wasn't marred in any way; the whole operation went without a hitch, and all 33 men and their rescuers were brought out of the mine in record time.

The miners were missing, presumed dead for 17 days. Then the newsreel pictures appeared of a face at the bottom of a tiny exploratory hole. Shortly after a note attached to a drill bit confirming that the men were safe in a refuge half a mile down. The bad news? They may be stuck until Christmas as drilling operations commenced. But it was to take only half the expected time to get a shaft drilled down to the men. Next we hear it'll take two days to get them all out, but no; again it takes just half the time. Only the incredibly cynical and heard-hearted could fail to have been moved by the pictures as the men came one-by-one out of the rescue pod.

I was at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Liverpool last night where, in the foyer, dozens of guests sat and stood around a massive screen as the drama unfolded live. On Facebook I read of people in the Dales staying up all night to be sure of seeing the last people come out of the mine. Chile is now firmly on the world map, and for all the right reasons. I was delighted to be able to cover the rescue operation, giving live updates as some of the trapped miners were brought out - it makes you feel incredibly humble!

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