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Chile Rescue: “One of the Zeniths of the Human Race"

Hilik Magnus, head of a world-famous Israeli company that rescues Israelis lost abroad, saluted the rescuers of Chile’s 33 trapped miners.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 10/14/2010, 12:27 PM / Last Update: 10/14/2010, 1:33 PM

Hilik Magnus, head of a world-famous Israeli company that rescues Israelis lost abroad, saluted the rescuers of Chile’s 33 miners who were trapped for over two months deep underground.

The miners had been trapped nearly a half-mile underground since August 5 when 700,000 tons of rock collapsed all around them. They were feared dead until Aug. 22, when they passed a note up through a thin borehole that had been drilled to their small, 50-square-meter shelter. It was feared that a rescue operation would take four months, but it in fact took just over six weeks.

Beginning at midnight Tuesday, a special 28-inch-wide capsule was lowered down a specially-drilled shaft to the men’s shelter and then raised up again with a miner inside. The 33 trips took less than 24 hours to complete, and each internationally-televised ascent was greeted with utter joy and cheers from the assembled families and public officials.

The Greatness of the Human Spirit
“One cannot feel anything but wonder and admiration at the great professionalism displayed by the Chileans,” Magnus told Arutz-7. “They pulled this off not only with great engineering skill, but they dropped everything and invested everything in order to help others who needed them; I believe this is one of the zeniths of the human race. They showed us the greatness of man’s spirit.”

He said that Israel, which has also pulled off some world-famous rescues with great courage and engineering skill, “does not face the same challenge as we saw in Chile. We don’t have mines of that type, nor do we have experience and knowledge regarding mines.”

“Chile is far from a third-world country,” Magnus said. “It is the Europe of South America, and especially in terms of the mines there. I was once in the mines there, and it is simply an amazing enterprise, with giant factories and advanced technological means enabling them to descend deep into the ground and extract all sort of metals from the earth. It’s incredible.”

 

Magnus, whose rescue missions generally involve individuals, said that the fact that the 33 were together was a tremendous advantage for them: “They had each other for support, and this is very different than one who goes through a crisis like this alone. I’m sure that each of them suffered his own trauma, but in the end, I have no doubt that they will recover. People have recovered from worse than this.”