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Athens awards one of the leading rescuers of Chilean miners

21 October 2010 / 12:10:59  GRReporter
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Тhe importance that Greece attached to the rescue of the 33 miners who spent 77 days at a depth of 700 meters underground in the mine in San Jose in Copiapo excited captain Renato Humbert Navarro very much. The captain of the Navy of Chile was awarded a special award for his contribution in the rescue operation at a ceremony organized by the International Propeller Club in Athens. He said at a press conference that he is really greatly satisfied with the completion of his mission. “A mission is accomplished when you do more than you are required to. This is how we think of our work in the fleet” - he said.

Captain Navarro was asked to help in the treatment of people stuck in closed, small spaces. Following the behavioural pattern of people shut in submarines, the captain significantly contributed to the successful development of the rescue operation in the San Jose mine. In Athens, he talked about the complications and the extremely difficult conditions under which the mission was carried out as well as the weather that was not an ally. One of the main problems was a rock that displaced by 5 cm every day – a very important fact given the seismicity of the area. Composure and strong spirit of both the rescuers and the miners themselves have gained the respect of the world. This act of heroism will forever remain in history. Captain Navarro told about his twenty-four-hour work. "We worked 24 hours a day, every day." Thinking about the people who were awaiting salvation made him believe in the happy ending of the operation. "Hope dies last" - said the captain in almost perfect Greek.

According to Navarro, the most important things were the health and the spirit of the miners. "We had a special program of exercises for them so that to keep their physical health and shape. We gave them special drugs for people without access to light, such as vitamin D for example." Most of the stuck under the ground had to lose weight in order to enter the narrow claustrophobic capsule and to start their lonely journey to the surface one by one. A journey that lasted nearly an hour. The longest one in their lives...

People’s coming to the surface remains the most emotional moment for the captain. "It was a really special moment" - he said.
 
The miners lifted up from the depths of the earth in a capsule will receive psychological help at least for four months. “The duration of the necessary psychological support is equal to the time spent underground multiplied by two” - revealed Navarro. The families of the rescued will also receive psychological support.

He shared with GRREPORTER some details that may be disclosed only after a happy ending like this ... Not one but several troubled women often came to learn the fate of the beloved spouse. Thus, the emergency services had to ask the miners themselves who is their official girlfriend or wife to communicate with her. "Some would prefer not to come to the surface after the rescue" – said he jokingly. "But surely the men of the better established families were more motivated to survive" - told Navarro to GRREPORTER.

Asked whether the men stuck underground were able to accept that they would die, he replied wisely: "Everyone knows that one day we will die. It is different, however, when you die fighting."

“I am really very content personally. Now I intend to go back to the fleet and take up training,” told the captain to GRREPORTER. When asked how he is going to take a break from the enormous tension, Navarro replied: “I need to spend some time with my family, this is the best therapy.”

Tags: CaptainRenato Humbert NavarroChile33 minersRescue operationAward
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