I am happy that the recent trapped miners incident in South Africa ended with no casualties. However, one thing that came to my mind is, when there are 3200 people to be rescued, how do they prioritize in which order to rescue them? What if some people want to get out first while there are more sick people? Remember the Titanic?
So, one possible solution to this is to issue number cards to each miner periodically based on their overall health condition. So, an elder person or a person with a medical condition would get a smaller number (higher priority) than the others. This way, instead of people fighting out a mile below on who should be sent up first, it would be already pre-decided. Ofcourse, it’s quite possible that the exact incident could make the pre-determined prioritization not exactly valid. However, as the prioritization scheme becomes more accurate based on real data, the exceptions might be fewer and hopefully it’s lot more easier to resolve those fewer exceptions than everyone trying to fight out who should come out first.
There seems to be so many mining incidents through out the world these days. Hopefully, there will be more technology used to make it more safer and also protocols developed in what should be done and how when such an incident happens. The two top most areas that need more research is fail-safe communication and auxiliary supply of oxygen.