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Miners Begin Drilling Fourth Hole

Miners Begin Drilling Fourth Hole

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VIDEO: Thursday Morning Mine Briefing...Click Here to WatchSam Penrod Reporting

New images from inside the Crandall Canyon Mine continue to give hope to those searching for the six trapped men.

The images show an intact chamber with potentially breathable air. At today's briefing there was good news and bad news.

The good news is that the area of the mine they drilled into could sustain life; the bad news is that the effort to get to the miners underground had a major setback.

Crews are clearing the debris of the coal to get towards the miners. All along, the progress has been slow because of movement inside the mountain and the safety concerns for those doing the work.

In all, it has only made it 826 feet through the collapsed area, just 25 feet of progress yesterday, and the goal is 2000 feet to get to the area where the miners were working.

Robert Murray, President of Murray Energy Corp, said, "The seismic activity underground has just been relentless, the mountain is still alive, the mountain is still moving, and we cannot endanger the rescue workers as we drive towards these trapped miners, for who I take total responsibility.

Miners Begin Drilling Fourth Hole

The good news is that where the drill punched through yesterday, the oxygen levels are lower than normal, but high enough that the miners could survive on. Murray said, "The oxygen readings are 15.8 to 16.9. That will sustain life very easily. You may have your heart rate may pick up a little bit, and you may slow down a little bit, but that would sustain life indefinitely. So if the men did go to this area that's open: the air is there, the water is there, everything is there to sustain them indefinitely until we get to them if they did it, we just don't know that."

An underground camera went down into the third bore hole of the Crandall Canyon mine last night. This was a possible area the miners may have retreated to after the mine collapse on August 6. The video was released today. The video did not have any sign of the miners, but it did show this area of the mine was not damaged in the collapse.

Miners Begin Drilling Fourth Hole

This fourth hole will go in an area where noise readings were picked up yesterday when the third drill punched into the mine, it's in between the first and second holes and the third hole.

Richard Stickler, Mine and Health Administration, said, "What we saw that got us interested was during the quiet period, when we had the drill rig shut down on the mountain, and we were pounding on the steel and listening, there was a period of five minutes that we had this geophone device prints out on a chart, and we saw spikes every second and a half that lasted for approximately five minutes."

This drill has to go down 1,500 feet, so it is expected it won't punch into the mine until sometime on Saturday, where once again everyone is holding out hope the six miners are waiting to be rescued.

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