Ellen Smith, Managing Editor of Mine Safety and Health NewsÂ reported at 5:30 pm (EST, 8/12)Â on the status of the operation to rescue the six trapped miners at the Crandall Canyon mine in Emery County, Utah.Â She wroteÂ that MSHA Assistant Secretary Richard Sticker, said they are dealing with
“the most difficult ground conditions — ever”
and conditions are getting much more difficult.
Ellen Smith’s report continues:
There continue to be severe bumps and outbursts along the ribs. They have explored four entries in the active working section, but becauseÂ of the adverse conditions, they have not been able to advance past a blockage at crosscut 125.Â Stickler said they are now drilling a third hole at crosscut 147, which isÂ 1,300 feet from where they drilled the 8â -inch hole at cross cut 137. This borehole will also be 8â inches.
The two escapeways and the beltline are blocked, so they will now drill where they think the men could go.Â As far as the hole for the rescue capsule, Stickler said they looked at that option, which requires a 30-inch hole.
“At best it would take 19-20 days just to get the drill rig on the mountain,” Stickler said, due to the vertical walls of the canyon with the least amount of slope being 25-degrees. They would have to drill 1,886 feet, compared to 240 feet (which took 77 hours) when the capsule was used at Quecreek, so right now this is not really an option.Â [Richard Stickler was one of the lead-State official in Pennsylvania during the Quecreek rescue in July 2002 when 9 men were trapped in a coal mine when it became inundated with water from an adjacent abandoned mine.]
Stickler said he would make no time commitments on any part of the rescue operation.Â Â
Ellen SmithÂ established Mine Safety and Health News in 1991.
Update 8/14: Ellen Smith added the following later to her report:
“Regarding the oxygen levels at the Crandall Mine: It was first thought that the first 2-inch hole had drifted while drilling and broke through into a sealed area. This would have been consistent with the oxygen level readings they were getting between 7.2% and 7.8% and 180 ppm CO. They have now confirmed that the hole was in fact a working/active area, which is why they are now pumping air down into it.”