Local experts weigh in on mine rescue - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Local experts weigh in on mine rescue

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) - UTC psychologist Dr. Michael Johnson said there is along road to recovery for the 33 Chilean miners who were trapped in the San Jose Mine.

Rescue crews worked throughout the day saving each miner one by one, pulling them out by a capsule lowered 2,000 feet underground.

"Some people are more resistant and that would allow them to cope just fine. For others it might not be so easy and they may suffer from post traumatic stress disorder," Dr. Johnson said.

The miners were greeted by family and fresh air after spending 70 days confined to a 150-square foot refuge shelter.

NASA experts advised the miners on exercise routines and sleeping.

Bill Franks with the Challenger Center studied NASA training for years.

He said, many times the astronauts are subjected to the same type of close-quarters simulations before a flight.

"They are sometimes isolated in the same length of time it would take them to do their mission," Franks said.

Johnson said it's not only the miners who will need evaluations, but many of the family members who dealt with the stress for months.

"Whenever you are emotionally attached to someone, whenever they are going through something, there is a chance you are too," Johnson added.

As the rescue efforts continue in the public eye, Johnson says privacy will play an even bigger role in helping them find a normal life after such a dramatic situation.

"They should do that without everyone looking in on them. I think the public is curious, but the public's interest needs to be secondary," he said.

While they were trapped, NASA had the miners develop sleeping patterns as well, without the luxury of daylight or nighttime.

They have all been given special liquids diets developed by NASA to help prevent nausea.

Doctors are on standby monitoring each miner closely.

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