Utah mine rescue effort stalls after 3 killed, 6 hurt
The Associated Press
HUNTINGTON, Utah — A disastrous cave-in Thursday night killed three rescue workers and injured at least six others who were trying to tunnel through rubble to reach trapped miners, authorities said. Mining officials were considering whether to suspend the rescue effort.
It was a shocking setback on the 11th day of the effort to find six miners who have been confined at least 1,500 feet below ground at the Crandall Canyon mine. It's unknown if the six are alive or dead.
Six of the injured were taken to Castleview Hospital in Price. One died there, one was airlifted to a Salt Lake City hospital, one was released and three were being treated, said Jeff Manley, the hospital's chief executive.
The second dead worker died at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center in Provo, said hospital spokeswoman Janet Frank. Another worker there was in critical condition with head trauma but was alert, she said.
The third death was confirmed by Rich Kulczewski, spokesman for the U.S. Department of Labor, but additional details were not immediately available.
No official cause of death has been given for any of the miners who died.
Authorities said the cave-in was caused by a mountain bump, which commonly refers to pressure inside the mine that shoots coal from the walls with great force. Seismologists say such an event caused the Aug. 6 cave-in that trapped six men inside the central Utah mine.
Thursday's bump showed up as a magnitude 1.6 seismic event at University of Utah seismograph stations in Salt Lake City, said university spokesman Lee Siegel.
It was not immediately clear where those who were injured were working or what they were doing when they were hurt. Crews have been drilling holes from the top of the mountain to try to find the miners, while others were tunneling through a debris-filled entry to the mine.
Underground, the miners had advanced to only 826 feet in nine days. Mining officials said conditions were treacherous, and they were frequently forced to halt digging because of seismic activity.
Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company
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