On the afternoon of August 5, 2010, the San José copper and gold mine located 45 kilometres outside of Copiapó in northern Chile collapsed, trapping 33 miners underground.
This was the beginning of a 70-day odyssey that would become one of the world’s most dramatic stories of rescue and survival.
Using 3D graphics, exclusive footage and the unedited testimony of family members and other participants in this miraculous rescue mission, the original Discovery Channel production RESCUED: THE CHILEAN MINE STORY provides a detailed exploration of the scientific and technological innovations that made this extraordinary effort possible.
Catch the New Zealand premiere of RESCUED: THE CHILEAN MINE STORY on Sunday, November 28 at 7.30pm.
The rescue of the 33 miners was an unprecedented effort and the intense human drama kept people around the world on the edge of their seats for more than two months. From the moment news broke of the mine’s collapse, the authorities, rescuers, engineers and technicians involved faced unimaginable challenges and came up with creative solutions to bring the men out from the depths of the earth alive.
The first priority was to pinpoint the location of the refuge 2,300 feet (700 metres) below the ground where it was believed the miners could have sought shelter. After exhaustive probes, workers confirmed on August 22 that the miners were still alive.
Next, the rescue team was faced with the need to design innovative communication, drilling and extraction strategies to carry off the large-scale rescue, while medical teams worked to maintain the miners’ physical and psychological health.
Thanks to exclusive access to the work area around the three huge drills used in the operation (Plans A, B and C, conducted by Strata 950, T-30 and RIG-421 drills, respectively) and the “control room” that served as the nerve centre for the mission, RESCUED: THE CHILEAN MINE STORY gives a real-time look at the engineers, doctors, psychologists and countless other professionals involved as they evaluated existing alternatives for solving the complex problems presented by the mission. The programme draws on their testimony and unedited images to explain how science and technology were able to overcome the many challenges the rescue implied.
RESCUED: THE CHILEAN MINE STORY also provides an up-close glimpse of the human drama endured by victims and rescuers alike in this daring operation. Exclusive images allow audiences to witness the range of emotions experienced by the engineers, rescuers, officials, physicians and families during the ordeal, as well as at the moment the miners were reunited with their loved ones.
Finally, the documentary presents exclusive interviews with main figures in the rescue mission, including André Sougarret, the lead engineer; Michael Duncan, a NASA specialist who advised the medical team overseeing the miners’ health during their captivity; and Laurence Golborne, Chile’s Mining Minister.
RESCUED: THE CHILEAN MINE STORY is an original production made for Discovery Channel by the Peruvian production company Pacha Films and directed by Guillermo Galdós and Luis del Valle. The programme was supervised by Michela Giorelli, VP – Production and Development at Discovery Networks Latin America/US Hispanic, and Brooke Runnette, who served as executive producer for Discovery Channel in the United States.
RESCUED: THE CHILEAN MINE STORY – SUNDAY 28 NOVEMBER, 7.30PM, DISCOVERY CHANNEL (SKY CHANNEL 070)