Crandall Canyon Mine Update: 'Miners May Not be Found'

In the two weeks since a cave-in trapped six miners deep inside the Crandall Canyon Mine in Emery County, Utah, at just before 3 a.m. on Aug. 6, four holes have been drilled into the mine, and drilling on a fifth and possibly final hole began yesterday. Mine Safety and Health Administration head Richard Stickler said results obtained from the fourth borehole showed no signs of the miners and oxygen levels measuring too low to support life. He said the fifth hole should be completed by late Tuesday or early Wednesday.

Rescue efforts halted temporarily last week after what MSHA calls "a significant bounce" occurred at the mine the evening of Aug. 16, causing another cave-in that killed three rescue workers, including one MSHA inspector; six others remain hospitalized, according to the latest report at the MSHA Web site, www.msha.gov.

At a news conference Aug. 19, Rob Moore, vice president of the Murray Energy Corp., a co-owner of the mine, said of efforts to reach the original six missing miners, "It's likely these miners may not be found." Asked if the fifth borehole in progress would be the final one drilled, Moore said, "We'll need to discuss that further, but it may very well be."

According to The Salt Lake Tribune, the fifth hole will be about 2,000 feet deep and is being directed to an area about 1,200 feet from the fourth borehole and closer to the mine entrance, where miners who survived the Aug. 6 collapse suspect the trapped men might have fled. Moore said he expects the oxygen levels and environment to again be incapable of supporting life.

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