Chilean Miners Remain Trapped; How Would You Survive Underground?

Monday, August 30, 2010

A woman holds a sign reading 'Long live Chile and its miners' as Chileans celebrate in the streets of Santiago after the confirmation of the survival of the 33 trapped miners on August 22, 2010. (Ariel Marinkovic/ Getty Images/Getty)

It is still unclear when the 33 Chilean miners trapped 700 meters below ground will be rescued. The Chilean mining minister says it will before Christmas, a shorter timeline than originally anticipated. The group received its first solid food from the surface today: ham sandwiches. Even if the miners are trapped for 60 days, rather than the previously announced 120 days, it is still a very long time to be trapped in a confined space with the same people. We've been asking our listeners: What would happen if you were trapped underground with your coworkers?

Col. Tom Kolditz, the chair of the behavioral sciences program at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, has been using the example of the Chilean miners in his psychology class. He explains the typical behavior that can be expected of anyone stuck in a similar situation.

We also talk with Eva Salinas, the editor of the Santiago Times, for an update on the current conditions for the workers.


Col. Tom Kolditz and Eva Salinas

Produced by:

Arwa Gunja

Comments [4]

Miners Must Move Tons of Rocks in Own Rescue
The 33 trapped Chilean miners will have to aid their own escape, clearing thousands of tons of rock that will fall as the rescue hole is drilled, the engineer in charge of drilling said Sunday. (Aug. 29

Aug. 30 2010 08:52 PM
Kathleen Brandt from New York , Manhattan

Surely already discussed: if not, how about adapting terrific successes with populations in South American 'favellas', creating remarkable cohesion and sense of worth, by teaching kids, utterly innocent of any musical knowledge, group musical skills. This could be adapted in terms of UK "Choir" [BBC ]where socially isolated, depressed, non-singing, people were transformed by being melded into a choir that now tours together: Even the reiterated, concentrated rehearsal activity essential for such work, takes no space,creates harmony.

Aug. 30 2010 10:04 AM
Michael D. from Windsor, Colorado

Before I answer the question I just want to say the mining is a brutal industry wherein the powerful few are more than willing to sacrifice the lives of the many poor to line their own pockets while many of the miner's families literally survive barefoot and pregnant. Safety costs money and natural resource extraction spends as little as possible to protect those who do the extraction in an attempt provide basic services and needs for their families.

Now, to answer the question, I have actually dreamed of being a cave man and living in a cave. I think I would be alright. Then again it could come under the category of be careful what you wish for.

Aug. 27 2010 08:40 PM
Gloria Hunt from Florida

I would go into a Yoga/zen state and try to influence everyone else to do the same. Pretend we are in an ashram, zone out and depend on quiet, peace and inwardness overcoming the tendency to excitement and stress that would inevitably become aggression, hostility and panic.

Aug. 27 2010 03:29 PM

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