Posted by: bohography | August 17, 2007

Utah Mine Claims 3 More…

The search for the six trapped coal miners in Huntington, Utah took a fatal direction last night… Three mine search rescuers attempting to locate the first six miners, were killed when the coal mine suffered another cave-in. The cave-in was triggered by another mountain or seismic bump at the Crandall Canyon mine. All search operations underground have been suspended until further notice. Read the full report here.

First I want to say that I know very little about coal mining, but I do know that this is one of the most dangerous occupations in our country. I also know that coal miners are a tight knit community, like a band of brothers, who do not hesitate to save their brothers. But at what point do you let go? This has to be a very difficult decision to come to grips with.

The mine’s owner says that the first six could still be alive, because they have heard some vibrations down in the mine. But it has been 10 days since the first collapse. If the six miners did survive the cave-in, do they still have enough oxygen and water? Do they really believe that they are still alive? I know that it’s possible, but it seems to me that they’re rolling the dice on a hunch and now three more miners have died. At what point will they stop the false hopes and realize that these brave men have passed on?

I’m sure the families are beside themselves at this point, and this latest tragedy has probably made all of this too much to bear. So whose decision will it be to say that a rescue mission is no longer feasible? Is it the families or the owner of the mine? Should they walk away and use the site for a memorial or continue to locate these miners, so that the families can have some sort of closure? What about the families of the rescuers, this latest tragedy has obviously made the situation worse for the entire community…

I honestly don’t know what I would do. I was trained not to leave your fellow man behind, but it was to not leave them behind in a foreign land. Should the mine become their natural burial site, like Pearl Harbor is for many of our fallen heroes? Or do they keep going? I can’t help but wonder if the news coverage has any influence on the decision making process, I could be wrong, but I do wonder. I also wonder if the owner is thinking that he has to clear the mine out anyway to continue production, so they might as well continue the search to look good in front of the country. Again, I could be wrong here, but doesn’t make you wonder what the motivation is to continue? Has the owner been giving out too many false hopes to the families and the country? Or do they honestly think that the six miners are still alive, so they must continue the search no matter how many lives are lost?

This is a very difficult situation, in a difficult environment. There is no easy answer here, but I hope at some point very soon, the families can concede that their loved ones are in a better place now and will be able to find some closure. Whether they continue on with the search or they decide to let these brave men rest beneath American soil, I pray that a since of peace will fill their hearts and their minds…

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