Chilean Miners Families Fight Above Ground As Rescue NearsMara Siegler
The 33 Chilean miners who have been trapped underground since August are scheduled to be pulled out tonight or tomorrow. It should be a moment of hope and excitement, but there is plenty of tension, anger, and rivalry amongst the families waiting above ground.
Relatives are upset over who got to take part in weekend video conferences with the miners, who received letters and why or who should speak to the media and how much they should be revealing about a family’s interior life, reports the AP.
It’s sad and it highlights some of the worst characteristics of human nature. Distant relatives who have barely ever seen their miner kin have lined up for donated gifts from well wishers and there are those who do not actually really know the miners hanging around in hopes of being interviewed for TV.
So Alberto Iturra, the chief of the psychology team advising the trapped men, has decided that the men will only meet with between one and three people, whom they get to choose, when they emerge to avoid chaos. He has also told some of them to go home. “I explained to the families that the only way one can receive someone is to first be home to open the door,” Iturra said.
Officials have drawn up a secret list of which miners should come out first, but the order could change depending on what they discover about the health of each miner. Once they are above ground they will be taken through inflatable tubes to ambulances that will take them to a triage station. Then, if cleared by doctors, they will be reunited with their chosen family members, followed by a helicopter flight to a hospital where they will be watched for 48 hours to ensure they are ok.