Save Julen: How the miners are working to reach where Julen is located

Pedro Marrero
Jan 26, 2019
07:28 A.M.
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Undoubtedly, the miners who work in the rescue of the two-year-old boy who fell into a well over 100 meters deep in Totalán, Málaga, are committed to their work.


The shifts are constant and although the fatigue does not disappear, the miners are determined to rescue Julen and will not stop until they find it.

They are stinging, digging, hammering and much more, into a small space in which they must be for a considerable time on their knees. But their determination doesn’t fade, the Salvation Brigade only wants to reach the gallery where the child is.


For the moment, the miners are still making their way. There is little left, but the closer they are to the rescue, the conditions of the place become more difficult.

Outside, you can see the cage in which the miners descend and on the one hand hang the hoses that allow ventilation to the place below the ground.

They say that the terrain has not been easy and they have had to use explosives to eliminate the hard earth that prevents them from moving more smoothly.



Two by two they go down to the well and their shifts end every hour. They endure everything they can under extreme conditions: artificial light and little oxygen. If the ventilation system fails they carry an emergency kit that will help them breathe for about half an hour.

The heroes of this story must not only bear the responsibility of bringing back Julen, but they carry the added weight of 18 kilos, which is the estimate of each special suit. They must also carry the necessary tools with them.

All the responsibility falls on the eight miners of the elite corps that arrived in Totalán (Málaga) more than a week ago.



Sergio Tuñón is the chief engineer of the Mining Rescue Brigade. He has been a technical director since 2012 and has rescued deceased miners, such as Degaña in 2015 and the speleologist in Vizcaya in 2017.

The technical engineer is Antonio Ortega, who, after working in the well of Santiago, was incorporated about a year ago.

The most experts of the Salvage Brigade are Maudilio Suárez and Jesús Fernández, both with more than 10 years of experience in rescuing fellow miners. They will be accompanied by Lázaro Alves, who decided to dedicate himself to this out of love; and José Antonio, Rubén and Adrián, the last three to join.



Sergio Tuñón: He is the chief engineer, in charge of telling his colleagues what they should do.

Antonio Ortega: He is the second, the technical engineer, and has been one of the last to join.

Maudilio Suárez: Subway specialist, she has been rescuing miners for 10 years.

Lázaro Alves Gutiérrez: He owes the mine. He swore, after seeing his companions die, that he would not leave anyone else inside a mine, that he would take out anyone who swallowed the land.

José Antonio Huerta: Until 2009 he worked for the company Coto Minero Jove. But it changed. He decided to consecrate his life to rescue other fellow miners.


Jesús Fernández Prado: He has more than 10 years of experience in rescues.

Rubén García Ares: He is one of the youngest and least experienced, but he makes up for it with his passion. From the Nalón region, he lives in Aller. Before leaving his house he swore he would return after rescuing Julen.

Adrián Villaroel: He is the last specialist, he has joined in this decade and he is also young. It has not come to learn, but to contribute.


Meanwhile, the mayor of Totalán said he feels desolated with the rescue of Julen: "I'm falling apart, every day I'm more scared." Miguel Angel Escaño says he is "in a state of shock", he confesses that the first impression he had when he arrived at the well was fear.


The local president thought that the opening of the horizontal tunnel was going to be more complex because it is manual: "If the vertical has cost a kidney, the horizontal one will cost more". "It's complicated because there's a person inside and you can’t work in any other way."


To unite the strength of faith, a nocturn vigil was organized that was attended by more than 200 people who prayed for the rescue of Julen and for the people who work to bring him back to their parents.

However, although the parents went to the activity, none could pray or talk with those present, because they did not stop crying and stayed all day embraced in a hug.