Thursday, August 16, 2007

Huntington, Utah Miners still trapped. Encouraging news!

Such a sad story! I know the first two holes have not proved successful, but we all hold out hope that they will find these men. I can't imagine what these families are going through. I was talking with my mother today and she was saying how she felt this way every time my father would go off to work, since he was an officer for 25 years. These families have a lot of support and I know we will be praying for them. here is the whole story that CNN published today:

"HUNTINGTON, Utah (CNN) -- Efforts to reach six men trapped deep underground in Utah's Crandall Canyon mine are going disappointingly slow, but rescuers have had some encouraging news, officials said Thursday.

Mine co-owner Bob Murray, consoles Crandall Canyon mine safety officer Bodie Allred.

Bob Murray, president and CEO of mine co-owner Murray Energy Group Corp., said video taken from a camera lowered into the hole showed a large, open cavity.

"If the men did go to this area that is open, the air is there, the water is there, everything is there to sustain them indefinitely until we get to them," Murray said.

But he stressed that rescuers do not know if the miners were in that area.

Rescuers are still more than 1,000 feet from reaching the section where the men were believed to be working, Murray said.

Seismic movement Wednesday night loosened rubble that covered the "continuous miner" machine -- a powerful plow that chews up coal and shovels it into carts following behind -- halting work for a while, Murray said. Another shake delayed work later Thursday morning, he said. Watch as Murray shows video taken from the mine »

"I'm so sorry, ladies and gentlemen, to tell these families that we're not making better progress underground," Murray said. "And it's strictly due to the fact that the mountain is still alive and the mountain is not allowing us to advance as rapidly as we would like to."

Rescuers plan to drill a fourth hole to try to find the miners, who've been trapped for 10 days in the central Utah coal mine. See photos of the rescue efforts »

Murray said it probably would take two days to drill the 1,586-foot-deep shaft.

On Wednesday, underground listening devices, called geophones, picked up a "series of spikes" over a five-minute period.

Rescuers said they didn't know what the sounds were, but they said they were encouraged.

Murray said the sensors have not picked up the noises again.

"Those sounds could have been anything, and we've said that from the beginning," Murray said Thursday.

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Two earlier bore holes have yielded no signs of life, but they have shown there is survivable space and some breathable air, rescuers have said.

During the drilling of the third bore hole Wednesday morning, two of the six geophone listening devices on the mountain above the mine detected the unknown noise, Stickler said. It lasted for about five minutes, stopped and has not been detected since, he said.

Geophones have never been successfully used to rescue trapped miners, but, in experiments, they have been able to pick up signals as far as 2,000 feet under the surface, Stickler said.

The six miners were trapped August 6, when the mine collapsed. In addition to drilling holes down into the mine, rescuers also have been working around the clock to clear rubble from a 2,000-foot stretch of tunnel leading to where the miners were thought to have been working. However, that work has been moving slowly, hampered by unstable conditions and seismic shifts inside the mine.

Murray maintains that an earthquake, not mining activity, caused the collapse. However, seismologists at the U.S. Geological Survey say there was no earthquake and the collapse registered as a 3.9-magnitude quake.

Friends and family have identified the trapped men as Louis Alonso Hernandez, 23; Manuel Sanchez, 41; Kerry Allred, 57; Carlos Payan, in his 20s; Brandon Phillips, 24; and Don Erickson, 50."

See full story here

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