Wednesday, October 13, 2010
BBC News and the Chilean Miners rescue
It's 2:29 am Chilean time as I write this, a third rescue worker has been sent down and three miners are breathing fresh air for the first time since Aug 5th. I apologize to those of you expecting reviews and reactions from the football, but somehow it all seems less pressing than usual. I haven't shared a moment like this with my family since I was a small boy and we all huddled around the Black and White telly to watch the Moon landings. Unlike 9/11 or 7/7, this has all the hallmarks of a happy, hopeful event that speaks of the ability of man to overcome adversity and the seemingly impossible. From the grainy pictures coming from the surface of the mine to the clear 2nd window showing us operations controls and half the Chilean Cabinet, you got the impression you were watching history in the making. For the first time in Human History, men had lived and survived longer than any others under ground and were coming out. Their families had gathered in Camp Hope for the last 69 days in a makeshift village to await the miracle of technology, hope, political will and sheer force of character to make it out alive.
One of the things that do happen when watching these long drawn out affairs, however , is pretty funny. You begin to see things and imagine what has no place going through your mind. In my case, I kept seeing Betsy and Patrick Troughton zooming around the place, while the tiny cage more at home on a Doctor Who set from the 70's complete with cranes, miners and concerned officials, pokes through the rocks all suppository like and disgorges an orange clad extra who will surely be killed or have his body taken over by Cybermen, Autons or captured by terminally un scary Silurians or completely ridiculous Sea Devils. I have since heard Tim Wilcox refer to the capsule as Tardis like, It is blue , it is sort of like a round police box, but if I may go picky, it is more like the Master's Tardis when last we saw it, but with some paint on. So it's not THE Tardis, but A Tardis. Nice to see even our intrepid reporters have allowed their imaginations to fly.I also found myself doing mock interviews in my mind or out loud, with family members in which Steven Sackur accused assorted people of being dictators, incompetent or just crawling out of the woodwork to be nice to the soon to be geet rich miners. Of course Matt Frei and Tim Wilcox never once crossed the line from heartfelt sincere report to hard as nails journalist. That is for another day, this is not to say they didn't over the course of the last few weeks shine the harsh light of inquiry on these things, they just didn't go all barracuda like the new arrivals have in the last few hours, up to and including, stampeding a tent filled with relatives of trapped miners or filming two small boys rowing.
And so the Bolivian has come out and that leaves several more tens of hours to come before it's all over. No swingometers, no political panel and no clips of building being destroyed by an artillery barrage. Just a good news story about a group of patient men who never lost hope and a people who rallied to save them against all odds. My thanks to Tim Wilcox, Matt Frei , Rajesh Mirchandani and their staff who have brought us this once in a life time story from the start and while most of us take a nap, will continue putting in the hours till every last miner and rescuer is brought back up.
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