Rather than coming home from work one day, you somehow find yourself and 32 others trapped in a cavern 2300 feet below the surface of the earth. No communication with the outside world. No amenities. Two or three day supply of food. Hot and humid. No idea if or when rescue will come. Oh, and virtual darkness.
Fortunately, the trapped Chilean miners now have communication and a method of receiving much needed food and supplies. It is known as La Paloma (The Dove) and is a 3.19” tube about 5.25’ long. It takes an hour to lower La Paloma through the 2300 foot long six-inch shaft and the trapped miners depend on it for their lives and welfare.
For some perspective, a clothes dryer vent is about 4”. Imagine if everything you needed to survive had to fit through your dryer vent hole. Multiply that by 33 people and several months in an enclosed space.
Today, September 18, is Chile’s Independence Day. The miners will celebrate with wine, cigarettes, and a 50” TV projection on the bare rock wall from a tiny projector and a fiber-optic link to the surface. No doubt there will be special treats and national coverage. The Chilean news is dominated by the miners’ plight. The trapped miners have it much better today than they did on August 2, 2010, when they became trapped.
But… the fact remains that they are still trapped. La Paloma, their lifeline, is their only supply line with the outside world. Everything that thirty-three men need to survive, physically and emotionally, for the next two or three months must fit into La Paloma. The integrity of the six-inch shaft and La Paloma are so vital to the men’s survival, they have assigned a crew to monitor it.
Today’s photo is a 3” PVC tube cut to 5’3”, the approximate size of La Paloma. There are also a few items for reference. Most won’t fit.
For more info, I encourage you to look at this Newsweek article…
(Thanks to Nan for pointing out the Newsweek article)
September 18, 2010