miners - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

miners

Reporter: Shannon Samson
New Media Producer: Amanda Lents

A 14 News update on the efforts to reach six trapped coal miners in utah. Rescue crews are drilling to get them fresh air and food...but that, the owner of the company says, will take at least three days. No one has heard from the six since the shaft collapsed early monday.  Area coal miners are hoping and praying they'll leave that mine...alive. When their shifts end at warrior coal near manitou, kentucky, many miners will be glued to the t-v to see what's happening in utah. It's sobering for them to be reminded that a collapse like this can happen. Sonny duncan/coal miner: "it could happen any day. I mean there is nothing that... It's just one of them things you can't control." five miles down the road in madisonville, united mine workers international safety representative butch oldham keeps a picture of the wilberg mine fire that killed 27 miners in 1984. It, too, happened in the mountains of utah. Butch oldham/united mine workers: "they have bumps and stuff. That's what they call them and it's just the geological pressures and sometimes it gets so great and the mountain wants to shift one way or another and that causes these." not that there isn't danger closer to home. In 1989, a spark ignited a buildup of methane gas deep inside the pyro mine in wheatcroft, kentucky. Ten miners died. Since then, oldham says safety equipment has come a long way, but not far enough. For instance, in utah, rescue teams will be using seismic listening devices to try to detect any sound coming from the trapped miners, technology that's rudimentary at best. Oldham: "the communication and tracking systems that really nobody hardly has in the country are being pushed and that way they could set stuff up and communicate with people underground if those were available today." he says the federal miner act signed by president bush in 2006 will improve accident preparednes, but its schedule of enforcement is sadly not quick enough for the six miners currently trapped underground. One of the key provisions of the federal miner act is to require wireless two-way communication and an electronic tracking system so those on the surface can communicate with people trapped underground. Companies aren't required to have them until 2009.

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