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VIDEO: Monday Afternoon Mine Briefing...Click Here to WatchSam Penrod Reporting
It's been more than a week since the collapse of the Crandall Canyon mine, and still no word on the fate of six miners.
"I'm very disappointed to be telling you on the eighth day that we haven't found six alive miners," mine officials said.
Despite that, people in Emery County are still clinging to hope. That hope centers around another drilling project into an area of the mine where it's possible the six trapped miners took shelter.
Crews started drilling on the mountain as of 10:00 p.m., into a different section of the mine -- a possible evacuation area -- which may be the last hope for finding the miners alive.
For their families, it means another three days, at least, of waiting and wondering if their loved ones survived.
Video from a high-tech camera on the bottom of the Crandall Canyon mine shows the drill previously hit the right spot of the mine, the area where the miners had been working at the time of the collapse. But because the miners were not there, it became the wrong spot.
Even with a new light, they can't see a lot, but enough to know the roof of the mine is still intact, and there is a 5½-foot void in the mining area. There is also mining equipment, but no sign of miners.
The progress underground, clearing the tons of coal from the collapse, has made it another 125 feet. But in a week's time they've only made it 645 feet, and may have to go another 1,300.
Even though there has been no contact with the miners, the experts have a theory the six men escaped into the back section of the mine to avoid the seismic activity and to have breathable air.
So an eight-inch hole will be drilled into this area of the mine.
Richard Stickler, with the Mine Safety and Health Administration, said, "Since that area is closed ... there is no place for the air to get out, so it would be trapped. So the fresh air would be trapped and initially be compressed from the concussion of the mountain bump. But it would have formed a pocket, we believe, up in that corner. That would be a very likely area for the miners to go."
After eight days, it's clear everyone here is disappointed. But until they have evidence the miners did not survive, they will keep on going.
Murray said, "It's heartbreaking. It's heartbreaking that we haven't found them alive. But we have spared nothing in the way of equipment and manpower and whatever it takes to find these miners as quickly as possible."
Rob Moore, vice president of Murray Energy Corporation, said, "Our focus remains on this rescue effort. I want to repeat it is a rescue effort, our primary concern is for the well-being of the trapped miners, their families and the rescue workers."
The best guess we can give is that it will be another three days, sometime on Thursday, when the drill breaks though into that back section of the mine, where everyone desperately hopes the six miners are waiting to be rescued.
Those hopes and prayers are going out on behalf of these six men: Kerry Allred, Luis Hernandez, Carlos Payan, Don Erickson, Manuel Sanchez and Brandon Phillips.