How Many More Mining Deaths?
Three miners were killed last night at the Crandall Canyon Mine in Utah and six others were injured as they worked to reach another six miners who have been trapped in the mine for 12 days. From the Salt Lake Tribune:
HUNTINGTON — A catastrophic failure Thursday in a Crandall Canyon mine tunnel killed three men, injured six others and cast grave doubt on whether a rescue mission to find six missing miners could ever resume.
Those killed and injured were part of a perilous operation to find the missing miners, who were caught in a similar failure on Aug. 6. They were burrowing through a rubble-choked tunnel when they were caught in seismic “bump,” which can cause the walls of a mine tunnel to implode, at about 6:35 p.m. Thursday, said Dirk Fillpot, a spokesperson for the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).
We do not know what caused the new cave-in, but it seems apparent that the mine’s condition remains very dangerous, susceptible to further cave-ins caused by either continued drilling or natural seismic activity. The mine owner insists it’s the latter, describing the mountain’s activity as “relentless,” while seismologists are doubtful. But I thought this was interesting:
Among those injured were Crandall Camine employees and two MSHA managers who were involved in the rescue effort in the mine, which has been unstable for months. The fate of the six missing miners is unknown, despite unceasing efforts to locate their whereabouts and to reach them through the enormous mine’s main entrance. [my bold]
God help all those involved.
In the meantime, Keith Olbermann last night reported on the man in charge of federal mine health and safety, Richard Stickler. Stickler received a recess appointment by Bush over the objections of Democrats and mine worker/labor groups and Arlen Specter. HuffPo has the commercial-less MSNBC Countdown video.
Photo: Utah American Energy Inc./Handout/Reuters, from August 14, 2007.