The Chilean Miners: One Rescue Story to Another
“Welcome to life.” So said President Sebastian Pinera today to Victor Segvia, who had spent 69 days underground, and was the 15th miner lifted up from Chile’s San Jose mine. Such perfect words. Such a profound sight, watching these men emerge alive, healthy, grateful, transformed. And I don’t want to mar the tremendous occasion. But I feel compelled to recall another rescue operation, for another soul trapped deep underground, where such a welcome wasn’t, in the end, possible. For this other story—yes, even at a time like this—needs to reach more people. It’s about parents and children. Great effort and loss.
The Chilean miner rescue operation, as President Pinera said, “has been so marvelous, so clean, so emotional.” What follows is a story that is highly emotional, but not marvelous or clean in result. It’s a reworking of a post that originally appeared in connection to the Balloon Boy news event last fall. The link being that the world watched a child in danger, allegedly in Falcon Heene’s case, until the hoax was revealed. The child in danger I meant was a little girl named Kathy Fiscus. The time: 1949. The place: San Marino, California.
The Kathy Fiscus story was one of the first live televised events ever, the blow-by-blow account of a mammoth rescue effort to save a 3-year-old who fell down a well. “Kathy’s story grabbed hold of me and wouldn’t let me go,” says William Deverell, a father of two, a professor of history at the University of Southern California and the director of the Huntington
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