Digging by hand to save US miners
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  1. #1

    Cool Digging by hand to save US miners

    Digging by hand to save US miners
    From correspondents in Washington
    Herald Sun

    RESCUE teams dug slowly by hand to reach 13 coal miners trapped for nearly 24 hours, 80m underground after a methane explosion collapsed a shaft of the Sago Mine in West Virginia, officials said today.

    There has been no contact with the trapped miners since the explosion early yesterday, and rescuers were digging by hand to prevent sparks from heavy boring equipment setting off another methane blast, said Gene Kitts, a senior vice president of the International Coal Group (ICG) that owns the mine.

    West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin said some rescue crews were moving slowly through the long tunnels that lead to the collapsed shaft, while others were busy drilling from above the accident site.

    "They're drilling a six-inch hole (18cm) which would be for monitoring and for ventilation also," Mr Manchin told CNN. He said global positioning equipment was used to calculate the exact location of the trapped men.

    "I believe in miracles. I'm very hopeful and I'm confident that we'll have a positive outcome," Mr Manchin said earlier. "And we'll know something soon."

    Dozens of relatives of the trapped miners praying at a local church said their loved ones were trapped about 3km from the entrance and 80m below ground.

    Three teams of specially-trained workers entered the Sago Mine after its shaft was ventilated for several hours to remove dangerous gases.

    Lara Ramsburg, a spokeswoman for the West Virginia governor's office, said the rescue teams, eight of which were already on location near the town of Tallmansville, would work in shifts through the night to get to the trapped workers.

    However, Ms Ramsburg said she expected the operation to be "a relatively long process" even under the best of circumstances."

    The blast that collapsed the roof of the shaft occurred at dawn Monday as a 13-member work crew resumed operations after the New Year's holiday, according to Roger Nicholson, another senior ICG vice president.

    A second, six-member crew that was moving behind the first heard the explosion but ran into collapsed rock and decided to retreat without making contact with their trapped comrades.

    Mr Nicholson suggested the blast may have been caused by lightning, noting that it had occurred "simultaneously with a very heavy thunderstorm in the region".

    But while the exact cause of the explosion remained undetermined, occupational safety expert Ellen Smith said the Sago Mine had been cited last year for at least 13 serious safety violations, including seepage of volatile gas.

    Doug Conaway, an official with the state Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training, acknowledged authorities were aware of the safety violations, but argued they were a common occurrence throughout the industry.

    "It's not unusual for an underground coal mine to be cited," he said.

    ICG, which went public last year, operates 11 mining complexes, of which 10 are located in northern and central Appalachia and one in central Illinois.

    West Virginia, which has been a major coal mining region in the United States since the 19th century, had a relatively safe year in 2005, reporting only three fatal mining accidents.

    The worst mining tragedy in West Virginia's and US history occurred in 1907 in the community of Monongah, where an explosion killed 362 workers.

    A similar rescue operation that was mounted near Somerset, Pennsylvania, in 2002 ended successfully, with all nine coal miners brought to the surface after more than three days underground.


  2. #2

  3. #3
    Guest Free Member
    Good News! They found 12 of 13 alive!

  4. #4
    Guest Free Member
    @$%%J^$%@!! Miscommunication between the rescue teams and the surface. 12 of 13 did actual perish.

    Prayers out to thier familys'

  5. #5
    TRAGIC just tragic is all i can say..

  6. #6
    Trapped Miners Alive! Wait, Not So...
    By Susan Jones
    CNSNews.com Senior Editor
    January 4, 2006

    (CNSNews.com) -- The only thing worse than learning that most of the trapped West Virginia miners were dead was first believing that they were alive.

    It happened late last night in Tallmansville, West Virginia, forcing a heartbroken Gov. Joe Manchin on Wednesday to tell reporters that no one had intentionally spread the false rumor. He called it a miscommunication.

    "About the confusion, I can't tell you of anything more heart-wrenching than I've ever gone through in my life. Nothing," Manchin said.

    At 11:50 Tuesday night, reports circulated that rescue workers had found 12 of the 13 trapped miners alive. Church bells proclaimed the happy news, spreading relief and euphoria among frantic friends and relatives.

    But then, a few hours later, came the horrifying news: the unconfirmed, but widely circulated report turned out to be false -- all but one of the 13 miners were dead, and the surviving miner was in critical condition.

    The coal company reportedly learned about the erroneous report within 20 minutes, but it took three hours to set the record straight.

    Relatives' relief quickly turned to anger.

    International Coal Group Chief Executive Officer Ben Hatfield said the false report spread when people overheard "stray cell phone conversations" between rescuers underground and the rescue command center.

    "The initial report from the rescue team to the command center indicated multiple survivors," Hatfield said at a news conference. "That information spread like wildfire, because it had come from the command center. It quickly got out of control."

    Hatfield emphasized that the coal company had not issued the false report. The false report had been overheard, he said; and he also said the coal company would not single out anyone on the rescue team for "misspeaking."

    Hatfield said it appears that all but one of the 13 miners did survive for a period of time after Monday's explosion, although it's not clear for how long.

    Air quality tests conducted in the mine on Tuesday detected lethal levels of carbon monoxide as a result of Monday's mine explosion.

    At a late-night press conference, Hatfield called it the worst day of his life. After hearing the report of multiple survivors, he told reporters he went to the command center, in a spirit of celebration, to see what he could do to get the trapped miners safely to the surface. Then came the shock:

    "And I was personally sitting in the command center when the corrected communication came across. And it simply said something to the effect that there was an error in the previous communication: 'We have 12 individuals, but they are not all alive. It appears that one is alive, 11 are deceased.' That was the nature of the corrected communication.

    Hatfield said he is not surprised that the miners' relatives are angry. "They have some basis for their frustration, having been put through this emotional rollercoaster. I wouldn't wish that on anyone. I regret that it happened."

    Several bitter, weeping relatives told reporters they blame the coal company for the disaster and said they plan to sue.

    One angry man who lost his father in the Tallmansville mine blamed the United Mine Workers for failing to enforce safety rules and allowing men to work in unsafe conditions.

    A number of newspapers carried the headline "Alive" in early Wednesday editions.


  7. #7
    Registered User Free Member Catz1611's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Fallbrook CA.
    How horrible for those poor people! what a cruel thing to have happened!

  8. #8
    Marine Family Free Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    South Florida
    Aside from family and friends of the deceased can you just imagine what the person who unknowingly started the miscommunication feels like? That's going to be a huge albatross to carry around for a long time.
    What a dammm shame all around.

  9. #9
    what it really shows is that the media should not be given or report anything unless it is bondified information and verified to be true.. again the media is somewhere to get the scoop and see who can be the first to hit the air waves..

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