Nine Miracles in One Day
Vol: 10 Issue: 28 Sunday, July 28, 2002
It was an unlikely outcome. All nine of the miners trapped 240 feet under the earth were rescued — alive, and apparently none the worse for wear after surviving for three days in the belly of the earth.
It began on Wednesday when their coal drilling machine unexpectedly broke open the abandoned mine, which had been thought to be remote enough from the Quecreek mine to pose no danger. Ground water runoff that had accumulated for decades in the older, higher mine broke into the Quecreek mine, and the men scrambled to find an air pocket.
They had just enough time to radio a warning to a separate party of nine miners who managed to reach the surface despite rushing waters that knocked them off their tractors.
The miners were able to reach a tiny airpocket at the top of an inclined tunnel in a chamber about four feet high. There they waited. For three days.
Topside, rescue workers ran into one snag after another. Drill bits broke, equipment was late arriving, seals failed and nobody knew for sure if anybody was even alive down there. Rescuers heard tapping on the first day, but after that, nothing.
Television reporters toured local cafes, milking the human interest angle for all it was worth and just generally being intrusive. But they were kept away from the families. They were busy.
Like most of America, as one reporter noted, they were praying.
According to experts, the success of the operation was nothing short of miraculous. David Hess, the Pensylvania secretary of environmental protection, called it a ‘million to one shot’ that they were able to even locate the men. The placement of the pipe was a matter of informed guesswork by mining engineers poring over maps, he said. “Those guys could have been anywhere down there,” Hess told the New York Times.
The engineers picked a spot with a rising incline near the dig where the night crew had been working. The tapping from the tapped miners told them they had guessed right.
Medical teams standing by had a game plan all worked out. Disaster teams were going to rush down food and medical supplies and set up a triage area. Once everyone’s condition was stabilized, they would bring the men out to waiting ambulances.
The miners didn’t want to do it that way, since they were all fine and just wanted some hot coffee, a warm bed and their families, not necessarily in that order.
They were so impatient to leave their would-be tomb that the disaster relief guys had to stand down and let the miners come up unrelieved. Everybody clapped and patted each other on the back and remarked at how amazingly well the men looked, given their ordeal.
Everything went wrong from the beginning. Except for one thing. Remember why the families weren’t giving interviews to CNN? Because they were praying. We were praying here. I have no doubt most of you were praying.
God said yes. And the broken drill bits, ‘million to one’ odds at guessing their location, busted seals, split O rings, replacement part delays and rising waters 240 feet below the surface didn’t make any difference. The men were fine.
Thank You, Jesus.
“And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” John 14:13-14
Nothing went right, but at 10:16 pm last night, the auger broke through the ceiling of a four-foot high chamber deep beneath the earth and nine men scrambled alive from the belly of the earth. Against ‘million to one’ odds.
‘That the Father may be glorified in the Son.’ Amen.