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As the story of the terrible Crandall Canyon mine disaster drags on, so many questions remain unanswered.
Why did the mountain give way thus launching the desperate rescue the world has been watching since August 6? Was it a natural phenomenon or the result of questionable and dangerous mining techniques?
Although mining is inherently dangerous, to what extent did the Crandall Canyon mine violate basic standards for safety? How many declared safety violations are acceptable for underground coal mines? What role did those violations play in the disaster? And what of national policies, rules and regulations for an industry deemed essential to meeting rising consumer demand for efficient energy?
What lessons can be learned, indeed, how can mining be made safer in the future?
While the rescue effort has been relentless, have those in charge done the right things at the right times? Could other approaches have been more productive? Could the tragic deaths of three heroic rescuers somehow have been prevented?
The most perplexing question of all, of course, is the fate of those six miners who have been the focus of the world's attention. For the sake of their families, their friends and all concerned, it is a question we all pray can be answered sooner rather than later.