For how technologically advanced we have become, we still pay the price when it comes to extracting natural resources from the earth. As seen in the recent gulf oil spill the ways in which we get our energy are still incredibly risky to the individuals involved.
It still surprises me though to hear that something like 4,000 people die every year in China due to mining-related fatalities and something between 20 and 100 every year in the US. I'm encouraged to hear it looks like the miners in Chile have a lot going for them. According to this story there's not only a plan in place to get the Chilean miners out but a Plan B and Plan C.
This is how successful people, companies, and engineers prove themselves. Always have a backup plan for your backup plan. Try the thing you think will work but no matter how sure you are it will work but be ready to explore other solutions. You never know what hardware will fail last minute or what product will be unavailable. You never know what obstacles you may run into or what luck you may have on what you thought was an unlikely solution. In this case good planning will save lives.