Catastrophes like the Chile mine collapse don’t happen often, but when they do survivors may be at a loss as to how to utilize the physical and emotional resources they have in order to make it until rescues arrive.
Recently, NASA experts provided advice for the trapped miners and those who provide psychological care to maximize their survival chances during what may be a months-long ordeal. This information can also come in handy to anyone who becomes trapped underground during other types of accidents or recreational activities such as spelunking.
The agency’s psychologist Al Holland, who was part of the delegation that visited the site, said it was important for the miners’ well-being to form an underground community with a hierarchy and establish different social groups, according to CNN.
He also stressed the importance of using lighting to maintain sleep and wake cycles in order to prevent signs of mental decline and confusion.
All of the consulted experts agreed that survival was only the first step and healthcare providers as well as families and the community will have to work together to help re-introduce the men to society both mentally and physically, especially in terms of returning to a solid-food diet, the news provider further reported.
The collapse at the San Jose mine occurred on Aug. 5 leaving 33 miners working 2,300 feet below the ground missing and presumed dead. However, 17 days later the authorities discovered all were alive and launched a rescue effort that may last until the end of this year.