Tuesday, September 04, 2007

In Memoriam

Yesterday marked 4 weeks since the Crandall Canyon mine collapse. MSHA told families of the missing Crandall Canyon miners that the search for them would not continue, a family spokesman told reporters. The announcement to the families reportedly came late on Friday before the three-day Labor Day holiday.

Search for missing Crandall Canyon miners halted
By Christopher Smart and Donald W. Meyers
The Salt Lake Tribune
Article Last Updated: 08/31/2007 08:53:06 PM MDT

Colin King, attorney for the miners' families, said this evening the officials with the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration told the families that the search was "done, it's finished," and there are no plans to resume it.

The MSHA representatives, whom King did not identify, also told the families during a briefing at the Desert Edge Christian Church that the miners - missing since a horrific collapse on Aug. 6 - are considered to be dead.

It seems a little surprising that there appeared to be no official announcement by MSHA. As of 10:30 this morning, the agency hadn't updated its Crandall Canyon page since last Thursday, when official investigations were announced, and had not added the six missing miners to its official fatality statistics.

Is it possible that the news is not entirely correct or complete? I remember Sago so well -- staying up for 2 hours hearing news, via family members, that all the miners had survived. It was puzzling not to have an official announcement at Sago, but after 2 hours without a correction from government officials, there seemed no reason to doubt the information. How wrong that turned out to be.

Again, there seems to be no reason to doubt the information, but why has it not come directly from the federal agency? In the MINER Act passed in response to Sago, Congress directed MSHA to take the lead with the media during emergencies. Still, it seems most likely that MSHA's official announcement is merely being held off for some reason.

On that assumption(footnote, Salt Lake Tribune):

o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o

The Missing Crandall Canyon Miners
Kerry Allred
Don Erickson
Luis Alonso Hernandez
Juan Carlos Payan
Brandon Phillips
Manuel Sanchez

The Rescuers
Dale R. Black
Gary L. Jensen
Brandon Kimber

o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o

May they never be forgotten. In addition, let us remember six more injured in the rescue effort, who, I believe, have never been identified, although one is known to be an MSHA employee.

Altogether, this is the worst disaster in almost 6 years. There is a sad similarity to the previous tragedy on September 23, 2001, in which 13 coal miners died. A methane explosion had injured one miner; the other 12 were rushing to his aid when the second explosion occurred.


Anonymous Tom Bethell said...


For what it's worth, RTT News distributed the following on 9/1:

MSHA Assistant Secretary Issues Statement On Crandall Canyon Mine

9/1/2007 12:19:23 PM On Saturday, assistant secretary for the Mine Safety and Health Administration, or MSHA, Richard Stickler, issued this statement regarding the Crandall Canyon Mine.

Richard Stickler said, “Over the past 25 days, the Mine Safety and Health Administration has exhausted all known options in our attempt to reach the six miners trapped after the accident at the Crandall Canyon Mine on August 6."

The Secretary also said, "Unfortunately, our hopeful efforts have resulted in no signs of life from these miners. Sadly, there is no remaining hope of finding these miners alive. The thoughts and prayers of the dedicated professionals at MSHA are with the families of these fallen miners.”


Why MSHA hasn't posted this statement is a mystery...

Also: I don't mean to quarrel with your characterization of Crandall Canyon as the worst tragedy in 6 years, but where would you rank Sago?

3:29 PM  

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