Thursday, 14 October 2010


“The courage of life is often a less dramatic spectacle than the courage of a final moment; but it is no less a magnificent mixture of triumph and tragedy.” - John F. Kennedy

The whole world breathed a collective sigh of relief today as the Chilean miners were finally rescued from their living interment. The whole time during their time under thousands of tones of rock, we had all been watching with anxiety the rescue effort and as metre after metre of the shaft was dug, hopes increased for their survival and rescue. Jubilation today was universal as the 33rd and last miner was raised from a potential grave. The chamber 625 metres underground that they were trapped in for 69 days is finally empty and the miners who cheated death and set a record for surviving underground for so long are at last reunited with their families.

I have often thought about the situation and put myself in their position. The first thing that one would have to do immediately the accident happened would be to reconcile oneself with one’s death. To feel trapped beneath 600 metres of solid rock is bad enough, but to also have to contend with stifling conditions, lack of water of and food, overcrowding and the fear of being crushed to death at any time is enough to make one slightly nervous, to say the least! The feelings of doom, depression, anxiety, claustrophobia, despair, hopelessness would all be formidable adversaries in a hole 600 metres underground.

The courage of these men and their strength that helped them survive is remarkable. The joy of their families to see them alive and well after nearly 70 days underground is indescribable. Their happiness at having cheated death and come back to the surface and the light must be a rebirth.

I am in Sydney for a couple of days and I have a very busy schedule. I shall be attending a seminar and workshop on tertiary education academic standards, which looks as though it will be very interesting. In addition I am inspecting the site of our new campus in Sydney. It looks as though it is in a magnificent location and there will be quite a great deal of refurbishment and rebuilding to order, which should make for a great purpose-fitted facility. Thankfully the weekend is not far off…

1 comment:

  1. Hi Nicholas! Yes!! a great relief that the miners have finally been's a miracle that they managed to survive 69 days trapped underground.....69 long days...the only thing that I can think of which kept them going was the hope that each new day they would be rescued, though I'm sure that every day it didn't happen must have lessened their must have been very hard to keep any spirits up after such a long time in such horrendous conditions...

    They are indeed heroes simply for managing to survive the experience....good luck and best wishes to the miners, it will be interesting to hear their stories about the disaster after their recovery.