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Seismic Activities "Totally Shut Down" Rescue Efforts

Seismic Activities "Totally Shut Down" Rescue Efforts


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Sam Penrod ReportingWe've received word tonight that all of the previous work to free miners trapped in Emery County is wiped out. Tonight we heard from the mine president who had good news and bad news.

The bad news is getting to the miners from the inside is at least a week away. The good news, the drilling effort to get air and communication to them is making progress.

The man in charge of the Crandall Canyon Mine says seismic activity has shut down any kind of rescue effort underground. Those six miners have been stuck for more than 40 hours and will likely stay down there much longer.

"There is absolutely no way that through our underground rescue effort we can reach the vicinity of the trapped miners for at least one week," Robert Murray, President of Murray Energy Corporation, said.

Murray, who claims the cave-in was caused by an earthquake, said seismic activity and other factors "have totally shut down our rescue efforts underground" and spoiled progress toward the chamber where the men were confined. He said underground operations would not resume until Wednesday afternoon at the earliest.

Tonight there are experts here from as far away as Pennsylvania, all working around the clock to try and rescue six miners.

As the hours go by after a collapse inside of the Crandall Canyon coal mine, the efforts to reach where the six miners were working is on hold because the inside of the mine remains unstable.

Murray said, "There is absolutely no way that through our underground rescue effort we can reach the vicinity of the trapped miners for at least one week, at the earliest."

By tomorrow night, crews will begin building a tunnel with steel, timber, and chain link fence to create a path to the area where the miners are trapped. Efforts to drill down to the miners to provide air and water and attempt to communicate with them, are right on schedule. Murray said, "We should know within 48 to 72 hours the status of those trapped miners."

Looking at the entrance of the mine from Chopper Five you can get a perspective of just how far into the mountain the miners are believed to be. It's three and a half miles from the mine's opening to the location where the drilling is underway.

State leaders were at the mine today to hear for themselves how the rescue attempt is going.

Gov. Jon Huntsman said, "I'm absolutely confident as governor of the state that everything that can be done is being done, that the rescue efforts are in the hands of professionals."

Many of the rescuers are local miners themselves, who are giving their all to get to the miners.

Huntington city councilwoman Julie Jones has a son working on the rescue. "He says, ‘Mom we're digging with our hands just to help get those guys out, we're doing all we can do to get the guys out,'" she said.

There was a major setback Monday night too after a drill rig was dropped in by helicopter in the overnight hours. While the crews were drilling there was what's called a "mine bump."

That is where the rock literally adjusts because of the pressure, and in this case, it caused a shake that was large enough that the rescuers actually had to evacuate.

Murray said, "I was out in the mining yard at 4:00 a.m., and all of a sudden out of the mine came the employees and I said, ‘what's going on here?' They said, ‘Mr. Murray, we had to get them out."

The miners have still not been identified so it's hard to put a face on who these six men are. Eyewitness News has learned the miners range in age from their 20's to late 40s.

Mexico's consul in Salt Lake says three of the men are Mexican nationals, but says he did not know whether they are US residents.

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