Two Greeks from Crete, Mixalis Proestakis and his nephew Igor, helped the rescue of the Chilean miners. Their efforts focused in opening pipelines and opening the tunnel from which all the miners hauled to the surface of the earth with “Phoenix” the “earth’s smallest elevator”, as the rescuers described it.
“What took you so long?”Asked the thirty-three miners after the rig reached the spot where they were trapped for the first time after two months, according to Mixalis Proestakis’ interview with Ethnos Tis Kyriakis newspaper. He is a second generation immigrant, engineer and responsible partner of the Drillers Supply S.A Company. The Company had all the necessary equipment for the successful rescue.
Proestakis has travelled around the world due to his work including Bolivia, Peru, Argentina, Jordan, Finland, and Portugal. He has not yet visited Greece and his family origin in Chania, Crete. Proestakis wants to visit his homeland one day. He explained that the communication pipelines were assisted by the miner’s guidelines during their effort to safely rescue all thirty-three workers . The trapped miners assisted this effort communicating with the rescuers via video calls or phone calls. As the Greek engineer explains, the miners had to often clean the rocks and dust falling inside the tunnel.
During the whole rescue they remained calm and not scared. They were very excited with their rescue perspective, Proestakis says. 21- year-old Florence Avalos who has worked eight years in the mining industry, helped Proestakis during his efforts. Avalos provided useful information about the morphology of the subsoil and remained calm and methodological. After their first initial contact with the miners, he started feeling more and more safe and calm. He was impressed with the trapped miners’ humor. Proestakis remembers the day when he informed Avalos that the rescuers were about to start the break-in inside the tunnel.
“Florence you won’t sleep at all tonight we will make very disturbing noise as we will drill dee”, he informed him.
“Drill as deep as you can, Mixalis” Avalos said. “The more noise you will make the better we will sleep.”