Against all odds

Mine disasters are generally reported as news tragedies. In most cases the focus is on the recovery of bodies as shocked loved ones wait for details while clinging to the slimmest of hopes that the miners will be rescued alive.

In Chile, 33 miners are trapped in a mine that collapsed Aug. 5. It took days for rescuers on the surface to bore a hole into the shaft where the miners, if alive, would go -- a rescue chamber about the size of your living room.

Amazingly, all 33 of the miners were not only alive but seemed to be in good spirits.

News coverage of this disaster has taken on tones of triumph and man's ability to conquer the worst odds.

The miners are alive, too, because they have demonstrated the most austere discipline. They have rationed food and water. They have found ways to remain active in a confined space.

And when they were finally able to communicate with the outside world and their loved ones, their spirit soared.

Estimates vary on how long it will take to drill a shaft large enough for a rescue. But it appears the miners are valiantly keeping up their spirits while they wait.