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Were the trapped miners concerned for their safety before the collapse?

Posted by gnn1 on Sunday, 12 August 2007

No news may or may not be good news in Utah. Six miners remain trapped in the Crandall Canyon Mine, some six days after the mine caved in.

In that time rescuers have drilled a 2.5″ (6.35cm) hole, followed by a 5.5″ (approx. 14cm) hole. They had no response from the cavern in which miners are believed to be trapped either time. Not even when

Rescue workers pounded on the drill steel several times. Miners are trained to respond to these series of taps as loud as they can on anything metallic, but there was no reply.

A source, who spoke to CNN on the condition of anonymity, has reported that

In recent weeks, the floors in that part of the mine had been “heaving,” or buckling up, from intense pressure… Supervisors at the mine knew of the problem.

He goes on to say that several miners, supposedly including Manuel Sanchez, one of the trapped miners, were fearful.

Seeming to back up the source, a member of Sanchez’s family has also said that Sanchez

had expressed concern about safety in one part of the mine.

When asked why they didn’t complain about safety concerns, a number of miners replied that to complain was to effectively lose your job.

The mine’s owner, Bob Murray–CEO of Murray Energy Corp.–denies that saying, ‘I don’t operate that way.’

But another former employee, Paul Riddle, has said that in his experience it was always profits first, then safety.

Miners who work for Murray are sometimes forced to push the envelope when it comes to safety, he said, and are afraid to speak up for fear of being fired.

“I’m not the only one,” he said. “There are many, many people that feel this way and are afraid to speak up.”

From what MSHA records show, Riddle and the other, anonymous, miners could well be telling the truth. The mine was cited for 30 violations just this years, and around a third of those were for serious violations, that could lead to injury or death.

Murray has been insisting that an earthquake caused the collapse, despite the experts stating that the seismic patterns matched those of previous mine collapses.

It’s now looking to be Tuesday-Thursday before they reach the cavern where they believe the miners are located.

I wish I had better news to bear.

Finally, CNN has confirmed the identities of the missing men, not with the mine, but with their families.

  • Manuel Sanchez
  • Kerry Allred
  • Carlos Payan
  • Brandon Phillips
  • Luis Alonso Hernandez
  • Don Erickson



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