galleryAmazing Rescues 10.08.10galleryAmazing Rescues Today, rescuers reached the Chilean miners trapped 2,300 feet underground. Constantino Diaz-Duran on the incredible end of a months-long saga of survival—and why it's not over yet.10.08.10 5:44 PM ETMartin Bernetti / AFP / Getty Images,MARTIN BERNETTIChilean Miners (2010)With logistics rivaling a military operation, the rescue of 33 trapped miners half a mile below Chile’s surface has captivated the world since August. For two months, food, water, and cigarettes have been sent to the miners through a drilled chute, and psychological counseling has been available through video communication. On the surface, an impromptu city has sprouted, complete with a school for children, squads of police, and even a helipad. When the rescue shaft is complete, a capsule will convey the miners to the surface—a harrowing 15-minute elevator ride for which some will be given sedatives—where they’ll be ushered into metal containers to shield them from sunlight and allow doctors to monitor their health in privacy.Jon Rasmussen / U.S. Navy via Getty Images,U.S. NavyMV Maersk Alabama (2009)It’s the sort of badass rescue that makes you proud to be an American. After Somali pirates seized the Maersk Alabama, Captain Richard Phillips bravely offered himself as a hostage in return for his crew’s safety—and the pirates demanded $2 million in ransom. Obama approved the use of force, and Navy Seals flew in. At night, while one pirate was pointing his AK-47 at the captain’s head, the three Seals fired off three shots in the dark, from one heaving ship to another, simultaneously killing all three pirates on board. “This was an incredible team effort,” the region’s commanding admiral said when it was over. Needless to say, flags were waved, fists were pumped.Ricardo Mazalan / AP Photo,Ricardo MazalanIngrid Betancourt (2008)Ingrid Betancourt was captured by leftist FARC guerrillas in 2002 while campaigning for president of Colombia. More than six years later, she and more than a dozen others were rescued in a mission Betancourt later called a “perfect operation”—and she has a point. To secure their freedom, a Colombian agent infiltrated the FARC, telling them that he needed to move the prisoners to meet with the rebel leader Alfonso Cano. Then commandos flew in by helicopter, disguised as rebels—some even wearing “Che” T-shirts—and simply took off with the prisoners. Upon being told they had been rescued, Betancourt said, "The helicopter almost fell because we started jumping. We screamed, we cried, we hugged. We couldn't believe it.”Mario Tama / Getty Images,Mario TamaWorld Trade Center (2001)Despite heroic efforts, only 12 survivors were saved from the rubble of the World Trade Center towers after the 9/11 attacks. Largely responsible for two of those rescues was Dave Karnes, a retired Marine who wasn’t even in the city on the day of the attack. After Karnes, who was working in Connecticut at the time, heard of the disaster, he ran to the barber to get a military haircut, threw on his old fatigues, and drove in. Pushing into the rubble even after being told to back off, Karnes found two survivors—both Port Authority police officers—after hours of searching, and eventually brought in backup support to save Will Jimeno and Sgt. John McLoughlin, who were buried 20 feet below the rubble. Karnes later re-enlisted and served two tours of duty in Iraq.AP Photo MS Prisendam (1980)It’s a nightmare scenario: a burning ship in 50-degree Alaskan water, 120 miles from the nearest airstrip, and not enough lifeboats for everyone. Fortunately, the cruise liner’s distress call was caught by the supertanker Williamsburgh, then the largest around. Coast Guard and Canadian helicopters shuttled passengers to the tanker while other ships helped pick up the lifeboats. With all 524 passengers and crew rescued without serious injury, the Coast Guard ranks the operation as the second greatest of its history—right behind Hurricane Katrina.AP Photo,USS Squalus (1939)Part of a newly engineered fleet of submarines, the Squalus hadn’t even been certified for operation before it sunk. During a trial dive off the coast of New Hampshire, the Squalus sank 240 feet to the ocean floor due to a valve failure, killing 26 of the 59 people onboard. Using the newly invented McCann Rescue Chamber, a Navy crew brought all of the remaining 33 survivors up to the surface the next day. They even brought coffee and food down on their first trip down.AP Photo ,SS Andrea Doria (1956)One of the worst maritime disasters in history occurred in 1956, when the Italian ocean liner Andrea Doria collided with another ship in heavy fog off of the coast of Nantucket. Unlike the Titanic 44 years earlier, the Andrea Doria was in a heavily trafficked shipping route, and several large ships responded to its call for help. Though the impact killed 46 passengers, the remaining 1,660 people on board were rescued and brought onto responding vessels. The next day, the giant ship capsized and sank, marking the last major boat sinking before trans-Atlantic airline travel took off.