Tuesday, May 09, 2006

A Miraculous Rescue, A Postcard, & Other Stuff ...

It has been a very exciting morning ....

I don't know how much coverage there has been outside Australia, but 2 weeks ago, on the evening of the 25th April, there was an earthquake in the area of Beaconsfield in Tasmania. This caused a collapse in a gold mine, which trapped 3 people ... all the others managed to escape. One man was sadly found dead, crushed by falling rock. The other two, 5 days after the collapse, were found alive ... but unable to be reached safely. Thus began a huge effort by many, many people to rescue these two brave miners. They were fortunate that they were not crushed like their workmate, as they were in a metal cage, which was part of the mine machinery. This cage, approximately 1.2 x 2metres in size, protected them from the rock falling all around them. Various options for their rescue were discussed, with the safest one being the one that was used. They needed to drill a tunnel underneath where the trapped miners were, then dig upwards to rescue them (this is a simplified explanation) ... this proved to be more difficult than they thought it would be, as some of the rock was very much harder than they expected. In the end, they got through, and at a few minutes before 5am this morning (9th May 2006) they emerged from their nightmare home for the past 2 weeks. An hour of so later, after being examined by paramedics, and getting cleaned up, they arrived back on terra-firma to cheers and jubilation.

It was amazing to see the whole thing evolve ... the emotions that were going through the people waiting at the mine entrance for the men to arrive back up top were incredible. Once they came out of that mine shaft elevator, I don't imagine there was a dry eye around the place. I know I was crying, and I was only watching it on TV.

I'll share with you a news report I found on the internet ...

Sydney - Two Australian miners were freed Tuesday, sparking joyful celebrations as they emerged ebullient and in good health after being trapped a kilometre underground for two weeks.
The two men, who lost a co-worker in the rockfall and had been given up for dead, waved to well-wishers as they passed an honour guard of colleagues after more than 300 hours in a tiny cavern at the Beaconsfield mine in Tasmania.
Todd Russell, 34, and Brant Webb, 37, came out of the mine with their arms held high in triumph and their miners' lamps blazing, to be whisked off for a medical check they were expected to pass with ease.
Webb insisted on the doors of his ambulance being open as he was driven through Beaconsfield. 'You can't kill me, son,' he was heard shouting to a wellwisher.
'They are in very good physical shape and we believe they will only be here a minimal amount of time,' Launceston Hospital chief executive Stephen Ayre said.
The miners defied doctors' predictions that their muscles would be too wasted to walk after their time trapped in a 2-metre metal cage.
They were expected to be strong enough to attend the funeral of a colleague, 44-year-old Larry Knight, who was killed in the April 25 rockfall.
'It's a real emotional time and a time of mixed emotions for us and this community,' Beaconsfield mayor Barry Easther told national broadcaster ABC.
'We've got Larry's funeral later today and it's a sad day, and yet it's such an exciting time to have these two lads brought back to the surface. It's just a dream come true.'
Overnight, rescuers came within a metre of the pair after taking a barely credible 40 hours to crack through a 1.5-metre seam of quartz sandstone five times harder than concrete.
For fear of triggering another catastrophic rockfall, rescuers drilled a fresh tunnel from the main shaft rather than trying to get to the men through the rockfall that trapped them and crushed the life out of Knight.
To open up the last bit of the 16-metre tunnel, which emerged just below the miners, rescuers used hand tools to break through the crust and carve out a metre-wide escape hatch.
The two men dropped into the rescue tunnel and were dragged to the main shaft. They met their wives and showered before making their grand exit at the pithead.
Doctors had wanted the two men to be taken straight to hospital but Russell and Webb would have none of it.
'They are very keen to walk out, and we are very keen to help them achieve that,' said paramedic Wolfgang Rechberger.
When they were found five days after the rockfall, a small- diameter hole was drilled to their tiny chamber. Food, drinks, blankets, clothes, toothpaste, deodorant and even music players, keepsakes and letters from family were passed through to them.
They managed to sleep, eat hot meals, and guide colleagues burrowing towards them. The local heroes even helped in their own rescue by gluing up seams in the rock near their cage to guard against a further landslip when rescuers finally punched through.
Mine manager Matthew Gill, who led the rescue and bore complaints that it was taking far too long, became the hero of the hour.
'My knees are shaking and I haven't quite worked out where I am at the moment,' Gill said. 'The odds finally worked in favour of the rescuers in the dying hours of the rescue effort.'
Gill said he was amazed at their physical condition. 'They are absolutely incredible people,' he told reporters at the pithead. 'In fact we were a bit worried with the amount they were eating that we would have to make the hole a bit bigger.'
The two miners' resilience and cheeky humour had been an inspiration to the hundreds helping in the rescue and garnered international attention.
One of the first things Russell asked for was the previous week's local newspaper so he could look for a new job. The pair joked that they were in a two-star hotel and that they were the two stars.
When Webb's ambulance pulled out of the mine compound, he flung his boots out the doors.
In what was perhaps their most emotional moment, the two men returned their safety tags to their personal pegs on the in-out board at the pithead. They were finally home.

Recent reports on the TV news state that one of the men has been released from hospital, with the other one staying on briefly for a few more tests. What incredibly brave, strong men ... what an amazing story.

Ok, on to other stuff ...

I received another postcard yesterday. This one is from Chloe, and she sent it from Makrinitsa, where she recently spent her Easter. It is a beautiful card, showing 6 wonderful scenes from what looks like an amazing place. Thank you, Chloe, I love your card.

Well, I survived my first night without my Chicky. It felt very strange in the house last night, without her, and the cat seemed a bit confused. We won't be having any contact with the kids until they return on Friday, so I am guessing that she is having a wonderful time. I really don't want to hear from the teachers, anyway, as this could only be bad news, an accident, or something.

I had a phone call from a friend earlier, who has asked if I can work for him tomorrow and a half day next week. This sounds good, so I said yes. No sleep in for me tomorrow, after all. Oh well !! I will be working at a Boarding Cattery, the same place where I take my kitty when we go away, and the same place (although at a different location) that I worked at part time a few years ago. Should be fun, lots of kittys to cuddle, and feed, and clean up after. It is mainly office work for the day, as there is another girl working there doing the cleaning.

Anyway, enough from me for now. I hope everyone has a wonderful Tuesday.

Take care,



Bossy♥'s YOU said...

its something about the miners..a few months back we had 12 die i think, they were trapped..scarey stuff..

I am getting some post cards soon..like in the next day, i cant wait to send ya one;)

glad you made it thru day one without chicky;)

Granny said...

The Tasmania rescue led the news here. We were as happy for you as we were devestated by the tragedy "bossy" is talking about.

In that case, the media or someone messed up big time. False hope, then none. Tragedy compounded by stupidity.

Michelle said...

I guess there is a trade off for waking at 5am! I got to see them walk out live which was fantastic. The mine rescuers, paramedics,pyschologists,and the many that were involved in keeping Todd and Brandts spirits lifted, should all be commended....they really are hero's. Never in my life have i ever witnessed such an operation run so smoothly, without a hiccup. Even the media behaved themselves, that in itself is a miracle. The whole story is truly stuff that miracles are made of, Australia is certainly proud to have such extraordinary human beings :o)

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

fsAt least the U.S. TV networks covered the mine collapse and this showed video of the once trapped miners exiting the mine. My guess is they figured some sort of U.S. interest because of the recent mine tragedies here. Usually I must discover what’s happening in most of the world—and much of the U.S.—from Internet news sources.

Diane said...

Such joyous news, Meow!! :-)

And I'm glad you're staying busy and not worrying too much about Chickie. I'm sure she is having a ball, and will be bubbling over with exciting news to share when she gets home. :-)

Connie and Rob said...

We heard about the miners here also. I am so happy they are okay. We did have some tradgedies just recently with some of our workers passing in the same situation.

I am suddenly getting about 10 postcards. I know you had much better respons. I can't even imagine how many you have received.

Take care,

Meow said...

Bossy Britches ... I remember that story ... all that false hope that they were alive, then not ... the poor families. I think miners are a very tough breed. They obviously can put up with all sorts of hardship. I am looking forward to the postcard, but don't stress, as I said. No big deal !! And, I have nearly survived day 2 without Chicky ... it's all good.

Granny ... I don't actually know what caused the mess up at the other tragedy that Bossy was talking about, but it must have been horrible for the families involved.

Michelle ... I totally agree. The media were well behaved and the procedures went smoothly (other than over-hard rock). The rescue team are an amazing group of people. I too am proud to be an Aussie today, with such amazing people in our midst.

Nick ... I wasn't sure how much you would get in the news. We always get anything interesting that's happening anywhere in the world, but am never sure whether what happens here in Australia is televised everywhere else. Seems we are often so far away from the rest of the world.

Diane ... thank you. I am looking forward to hearing all Chickies stories and escapades of her week away. I'm sure there will be plenty.

Connie ... yes, we heard all about the mine tragedy over there recently, and were horrified by it all. As I said, we usually hear about all that stuff from everywhere else.
So far I have received 18 postcards ... so much fun. Are you enjoying it as much as me !?! I'm sure you are !!

Thanks everyone. Take care, Meow

Chloe said...

this is so moving Meow. It brought tears to my eyes to see the photograph of the miners emerging from down there. How did they do it without going crazy? i am claustrophobic and wouldn't last a day.
Glad you got the card. i thought it wouldn't reach you for another week but now it seems you are not that far!
xxxx and a million hugs

Meow said...

Chloe ... it was such a moving story ... I couldn't stop watching and was so overcome with excitement and emotion when I saw them emerge from that mine. I don't know how they did it ... 2 weeks in the dark, with limited space ... I think I would have gone mad. Although, it is amazing what we can do when we set our mind to it. They obviously knew that they would be saved.
No, we are not that far ... we can talk almost instantly on the internet ... that is amazing in itself !! Snail mail is sometimes slow, sometimes fast ... who can figure !! Thanks again, and many big (((HUGS))) to you.
Take care, Meow

Merle said...

Hi Meow ~~ Thank you for this lovely detailed post. The whole country is so thrilled for the miners,

Glad you are keepimg busy while your daughter is away. It wont be long until she is back home with you.
Take care. Merle.

DayByDay4-2Day said...

Chloe did find fantastic post cards didn't she.

Your daughter will be home before you know it.

Have fun with the kitties.

Reverberate58 said...

Great story. Nice postcard and being the mother of one child it can be hard. But enjoy the time for you to have me time. It is wonderful, if you remember how to!!

Nerdine said...

what a cool story, Meow! I hadn't heard about it - but then I don't have a TV, so I don't watch the news.
Postcards are fun!!

Dick said...

The Seattle area TV stations had quite a bit of coverage of the miners in Australia. It did come out good. Unless you were related to the miner who did die.

I think the job in the catery (that does sound better than "cathouse," doesn't it!) sounds good for you, especially for this week with Chicky away at camp. She will have some stories to tell when she gets home.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Expect a card from me very soon...

Kyahgirl said...

oh that's good news about the miners.

I mailed my 'postcard' today! :-)

LoraLoo said...

Thank goodness two of them made it out alive after having been trapped for so long! I heard a little bit about it on the news last night that the rescue of them was successful.

Glad to hear you're going to be doing something you enjoy while Chicky will be away!

Meow said...

Merle ... I was so excited for the miners (and sad, too, of course for the family of the one who died), that I just had to share it with the world, so to speak !!
Yes, I have been fairly busy so far ... but I still miss Chicky !!

DaybyDay ... Chloe found gorgeous postcards. I will have a great time today with the kitties ... there are about 30 there at the moment ... lots of cuddles !!

Reverberate ... I actually do normally have a lot of me time when she is at school. This feels really different, though !!

Nerdine ... a very heart warming story, very exciting. You don't have TV ?????

Dick ... The job at the cattery is great ... I worked there a few years ago a couple of days a week, for a few years. The cats are so gorgeous. It's basically a supervision position, but I do the feeds, and check each kitty a few times a day, to make sure all is well. That means lots of cuddles !!

Jean-luc ... thank you, I'll be looking for it !!

Kyahgirl ... oooh, thank you, more postcards ... yay !!

Loraloo ... Thank you. I wasn't sure of the coverage out of this country.

Thanks you, friends. I'm off to work shortly ... should be fun !!

Have a great day, take care, Meow

LZ Blogger said...

I actually heard about this on FOX News this morning. Earthquakes must be as scary as hell when you are underground. They used to scare me when we lived in California and we were ABOVE ground! ~ jb///

The CuriousKat said...

We had extensive coverage here also (Plano, Texas - USA). After this and the tragedies in Virginia, I hope more people pay attention to the real dangers of mining. It's a thankless job and so many of those guys are carrying on a tradition from generation to generation. I applaud them all.

p.s. Popped over from FTS' site. Congrats on being his featured blog this week! I'll be back for more, especially since you're a fellow cat lover!

p.s.s. I used my blogger ID which I don't post on. My real blog site is: http://lettersfromheaven.blogdrive.com/

Meow said...

LZ Blogger ... I've never really experienced anything more than a slight earth tremor, and that was bad enough !! Those poor men, being trapped for so long, and the poor family who lost their son.

TheCuriousCat ... thanks for visiting ... it was exciting being FTS featured blog ... an honour !!
Those miner are very brave people, I hold my hat up to them ... I could never do what they do.
I'll drop by and visit.

Take care, Meow

Ebun said...

You have a really great blog here. I enjoyed perusing. As for mines, I've never seen or been in one but I just can't imagine what those miners felt cooped up in the dark for 5 days. I'm glad they out safely. Sorry to ask but you all seem to be talking about npost cards, what is that all about?

Saur♥Kraut said...

Wonderful news about the miners! Thanks for sharing the article. It was interesting, and the survivors sounded very likeable. What troopers! Good luck with the job!

angel, jr. said...

There was a mining accident in West Virginia too. I watched the coverage as it evolved.
I was also in tears.

Maddy said...

beautiful cards!
have a wonderful day!

Devil Mood said...

I heard about that story of the miners and it was really amazing. I'm really glad they're okay, although I don't know how they both got out like that...
Cute postcard and keep your strenghth...friday is almost here!

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

This got a lot of press here in the US news....and when the miners were rescued it was televised. Been a log of wicked weather down by you.

Cathy said...

I had been reading about the miners' what a great story!

Meow said...

Ebun ... thanks for visiting. I have been in a few tourist mines, which were once working mines, and they are really creepy. Don't know how anyone could work in them. The postcards we are talking about are a postcard exchange ... see my post in April ... the 10th, I think !!

Saurkraut ... there is still extensive coverage about these miners. They haven't done any televised interview yet ... at least the media is giving them some privacy. My job went well yesterday ... I will be doing next Wednesday morning (1/2 day) again, and then who knows !!

Angel ... it is really emotional watching stuff like that unfold, I think.

Maddy ... thank you, you too.

Devil Mood ... I couldn't imagine 2 weeks underground in a cramped space ... they are amazing men. And, yes Friday is almost here ... yay !! My baby will be home !!

Dr Deb ... it certainly made for compelling viewing ... I'm sooooo glad they are out safe. Tasmania has even worse weather than we do ... it is usually much colder than here.

Cathy ... yes it was, and is, a great story. Brave, brave men.

Take care, friends ... Meow

Moonflower6 said...


Yes, the story was covered here (Ireland) also ... outcome both sad and fantastic, just like life really. Where in Tasmania is Beaconsfield? Is it over near Queenstown .... I drove around Tassie 2 years ago ... beautiful place :)

Jenn said...

I heard about this on CNN, but not as much detail as you have here. Amazing, what a nightmare, thank God they made it out alive.

Meow said...

Moonflower ... hello, and welcome. Beaconsfield is in northern Tasmania, near Launceston. You've done more than me ... I've never yet been to Tasmania, and it is only a boat trip away. Some day !!

Jenn ... it is an amazing story. I haven't yet seen anything new about the guys, but I'm sure they will be interviewed on TV soon. Thank goodness they made it out alive.

Take care, Meow

Alice said...

It's things like this that remind me that there is indeed some good still in humanity.

That there ARE good people out there.

Thanks for sharing this.

Hugs xxx

Meow said...

Alice ... there are some amazingly wonderful people around, and this was shown just this week with this miraculous rescue.
Take care, Meow