Once that larger hole was completed (in record time) and the final operation began, it took only 22 hours for the Chilean miners to be pulled to the surface and another 2 and half hours for the last of the rescuers to emerged from the copper and gold mine late last night.
I too, like much of the world, have been transfixed on this human drama. And yet, over the last two months my mind has often flashed back to the coverage of other mine disaster rescues – some of which were performed far less proficiently and successfully.
During many, if not all, of these rescue efforts, my mind has often recalled Billy Wilder's 1951 film Ace in the Hole, staring Kirk Douglas. The film is an uncompromising portrait of human nature at its worst and a searing examination of the press, the news it reports and the manner in which it is reported.
Why is it, I wonder, that a significant number of us are so perversely attracted to these horrific events?