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Hope Fleeting at Crandall Canyon

Hope Fleeting at Crandall Canyon



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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Andrew Adams, KSL Newsradio Hope and optimism are giving way to sore feet, deflated spirits and burnout at the Crandall Canyon mine.

A week ago mortified public officials were revealing that tragedy struck a second time. Three rescuers killed, six more injured, and news of the six trapped miners got progressively worse from there.

"The suspension that we have on the underground operation will remain suspended indefinitely," announced Richard Stickler, head of the Mine Safety and Health Administration.

Now it's a much different picture altogether. The national media has given up, packed up and gone home.

Hours spent at the mine are hours of waiting and fighting for sanity.

The sound of hope has been replaced with the incessant drone of a TV satellite truck on standby with the unsettling constancy of a fast-moving river, and moments of generalized panic spawned by insects straight out of a horror movie.

Ten hours a day since the mine collapsed, Lori, with the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT), has been watching it all while directing traffic. "I gave up hope quite a while ago," she said.

"I guess we'll know when they get that fifth hole dug," Ralph, another UDOT worker, added.

Ralph's lost track, too. It seems like every day brings word of a new borehole, low oxygen levels and rubble piles in the old holes.

Even Emery County Sheriff Lamar Guymon acknowledges his deputies are tiring. "We've been here 24 hours a day. Here we are. We're still waiting. The news media has other things they have to go cover, and this is becoming old news."

"You hope for a miracle, just keep it in your mind and keep on going," explained Capt. Kyle Ekker of the Emery County Sheriff's Office.

Ekker is trying to keep that in mind, often working 16 hour days, sometimes as often as 19 or 20 hours. "It's harder to keep goin' after the adrenaline goes," he said.

Guymon said, "It's kinda like all the emotions are starting to leave, and so you can see it winding down."

Still, the sheriff says his deputies are on standby for as long as they're needed.

The key is perspective, holding onto hope. But like the satellite trucks that have driven away, the national correspondents who have filed their stories and left, like the Salvation Army lunch stand, once thriving, now no more, hope appears to be fleeting as the trapped miners enter their third week at Crandall Canyon.

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