The whole world is watching as the dramatic Chilean miners rescue continues and the 33 miners who have been trapped in the San Jose mine since August 5 are pulled 700 meters from the earth. It's an emotional, made-for-TV survival story that no one expected to be so miraculous.
As the miners emerge one by one, more moving details of their ordeal come to light, namely this one: The men argued about who would be the last out -- and not in the way you might think.
According to Chile's Health Minister Jaime Manalich, the miners were told that the order in which they would be rescued would be determined by technical factors -- e.g. health issues, etc.
Their response? Manalich said the men heroically offered for their fellow miners to be the first to see sunlight and take the first breath of fresh air:
"Mr Minister, that's fine but I want to go last please." And then another guy said, "No, my friend, I said that I was going to be the last one up." "No, no, really -- I want to go last, please," another guy started saying.
The miners' reaction is a testament to the strength of their spirit and friendships despite living underground for more than two months. In fact, officials and citizens believe the men's solidarity, patience, and fortitude were key to their survival.
So who will be the last man up? Reports expect that Luiz Urzua, the shift boss who is credited with rationing the food and organizing the miners during the ordeal, will be the last man to be rescued. As some writers have already noted, it will be in the fashion of "the captain being last to abandon ship."
When it comes to feel-good sentimentality, this is a story that just keeps on giving.
Image via Rescate Mineros