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Real Life Stories
By: Tanya White
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Looking back at 2010, the stories of the Chilean and New Zealander miners had the whole nation transfixed.

It is now four months since the Chilean miners were rescued from possible death after being buried underground in a confined tunnel for 69 days. Thirty-three men were trapped underground, facing life-threatening difficulties in horrifying conditions. Survival was paramount and all resorted to drinking industrial water and slept on wet floors, using cardboards in place of beds. Their bravery was commendable under such adversity as they did not know if they were going to make it to see their loved ones again. But see them again they did. Happiness was shown with confetti— a symbol of exhilaration and immeasurable delight. All 33 men had survived history’s longest mining shift, and have inspired many the world over. It was thought that they would never live to see daylight again, but through the turmoil they lived to tell their stories. It was recently confirmed that actor Brad Pitt has bought the rights to their story to bring to life in a movie.

Theirs was a story that had us glued to the news channels. The world watched and prayed for the men to return to their families. It unified nations and the happy ending to their horrific experience was genuinely celebrated world over. We as humans learnt that, when we feel like all hope is gone, there is always room for a miracle. We do not see many miracles in this world, but what we saw in October 2010 should strengthen our faiths and give us hope that the burdens we have in our everyday lives would one day cease to be.

In the same year, barely a month later, in New Zealand, 29 miners suffered a horrific fate — the youngest being 17-year-old Joseph Dunbar, who was on his first underground shift. All 29 men perished, leaving behind devastated loved ones whose grief cannot be quantified. Our thoughts and love are with them in their time of need.

Their deaths, it has been claimed, were preventable. Family members of the deceased criticised the government for being too overcautious and taking too long to undertake a rescue operation. Though not much of a comfort, an independent inquiry is currently being carried out to pinpoint how things went so horribly wrong.

IN STARK CONTRAST: New Zealand holds a memorial service for the victims of the Pike River Miners blast. The youngest victim of the was 17-yearold Joseph Dunbar

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