On Thursday, August 5, 2010, 33 miners and technical support workers had stopped for a lunch break inside a mine in Copiapo, Chile. Little did they know they were about to begin the most intense experience of their lives. The mine suffered a significant collapse a few moments later and trapped them 700 m or 2300 feet underground. They were also 5 km from the mine’s entrance which had multiple sloped passage ways to get up and down the mine. The mine’s owners had a long record of safety violations and accidents. 8 had died in the 12 years before this accident. As a result, it was originally thought that these 33 had not survived the collapse or would probably starve to death before they were found, if ever.
For 17 days, no sign of life was heard or found. But on August 22, a drill bit brought good news. On it was taped a note written in bold letters that read “We are well in the shelter the 33.” Suddenly hope was restored and the Chilean population demanded that the government find a way to rescue the miners.
The government then implemented a plan to care for the workers and their families during the entrapment and rescue. Cameras were sent down the drill hole. Supplies and food were dropped down. They accommodated the families at the mine and even had prayer services for them while they waited for their loved one’s rescue. Three international drilling companies were brought in, more than a dozen multi-national corporations and the NASA space agency got involved. Finally, in October, a hole was bored wide enough to lower rescue workers in a tube like container down to the miners. One by one over a period of 24 hours, all 33 miners were rescued. After the last trapped miner was winched to the surface, the rescuers held up a sign for the cameras that read “Mision cumplida Chile meaning “mission accomplished Chile.” An audience of more than 1 billion viewers watched this moment on TV and the internet. The rescue cost 20 million dollars.
The miners were in relatively good health after spending 69 days underground. The president of Chile visited them in hospital and welcomed them to the presidential palace as special guests. Their story is told in a 2015 movie called “the 33.”
Now can you imagine being those men? For over 2 weeks you don’t know if you’re going to live or die. You
don’t know if anyone is really looking for you. You don’t hear or see anything. You just know you are trapped beneath the earth. The only way you will get out is if somebody from above figures out a way to dig through the rubble or drill through the rock before you starve or suffocate.
Yet though none of us have been stuck underground for 69 days in a mine, we all need rescue. We may need
rescue from a difficult situation. We may need rescue from some lie we’ve believed for decades that continues to
disrupt our family. We may need rescue from some addiction that wreaks havoc in our lives or the lives of our loved ones. We certainly need rescue from the evil in our own hearts and the sins which separate us from God. We also need rescue from the devil. He wages war against God’s people. He constantly seeks opportunities to bring us down, trip us up or keep us in his clutches.
But who will rescue us?