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Mountain kept shaking long after initial mine collapse

Mountain kept shaking long after initial mine collapse



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- There were dozens of mountain "bounces" inside the Crandall Canyon mine, between the initial collapse that killed six miners and another tragic cave-in 10 days later, according to a log kept by federal inspectors.

The 230-page log, released to congressional committees and obtained by The Salt Lake Tribune, describes the events of Aug. 16, when three men were killed trying to clear a tunnel to miners trapped Aug. 6.

An entry at 6:42 p.m. reads: "Bad accident. About 8 people. Men buried. Need help."

The log says there were more than 45 bounces, where coal exploded from walls, roof or the floor because of pressure on pillars supporting the mine, between Aug. 6 and Aug. 16.

"I thought we had ground control in place that would protect those miners," Richard Stickler, head of the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration, said in October.

"Knowing what I know today, I would not have allowed that activity, because we ended up with three more miners killed," he said.

During the second fatal cave-in, mine manager Lane Adair ordered many workers out of the mine.

"You'll know who's gawking and who's helping. Get everyone not needed back out of there in case of another bounce," the log said.

Rescuers were still digging the last person out of heaps of coal at 8:08 p.m., and the outlook was bleak.

"I won't verify but certain deceased," the log said.

Dale "Bird" Black was the last injured worker brought out of the mine at 8:16 p.m. He was among the three rescuers killed.

At 8:27 p.m., mine co-owner Bob Murray, who had rushed in to dig workers out, was on his way out of the mine, the log states.

The agency would not comment on the log or its role in the MSHA investigation.

"Although MSHA does not comment on the specifics of any ongoing investigation, as always MSHA's accident investigation team will take into consideration any and all information that is relevant to Crandall Canyon," spokesman Matthew Faraci told the Tribune.

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Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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