11:28 a.m. August 6, 2007
HUNTINGTON, Utah – Six miners were trapped by a cave-in Monday at a coal mine five miles from the epicenter of a minor earthquake, authorities said.
By middday Monday, eight hours after the underground cave-in was reported, rescuers were trying to reach the miners. They had not had any contact with them.
Officials were also trying to determine which came first, the earthquake or the collapse.
The Genwal mine reported that the mine had caved in at 3:50 a.m., an hour after the magnitude 4.0 earthquake was recorded, the Emery County sheriff's office said. It is possible they happened less than an hour apart if there was a delay in reporting the collapse.
“Rescue workers are on scene trying to locate six miners that are unaccounted for,” the sheriff's office earlier Monday.
The miners were believed to be 1,500 feet below the surface, about four miles from the mine entrance, said Dirk Fillpot, a spokesman at the Mine Safety and Health Administration in Washington. It was not known what kind of breathing equipment the miners had.
Rescuers were within 2,500 feet of their presumed location, he said.
Walter Arabasz, the head of the University of Utah's Seismograph Stations, said there was a link between the quake and the mine collapse, based on wavelengths.
“The seismic waves are consistent with the idea that the mine collapse caused the earthquake,” said Walter Arabasz, who added that more information must be analyzed.
A command center set up in Huntington, about 15 miles from the mine, said Teresa Behunin, an accountant with Utah American Energy, which owns the mine. She had no other details.
Rocky Mountain Power, a utility with a power plant in the area, sent a rescue team and heavy equipment to the mine, about 140 miles south of Salt Lake City, spokesman Dave Eskelsen said.
The sheriff's office had said earlier there were no reports of damage or injuries blamed on the quake, centered under the Huntington Canyon area.
“We aren't panicked yet,” Linda Jewkes, president of the Emery County Chamber of Commerce, said after hearing the news. “We're very, very concerned and very cautious when it comes to the mines.”
Utah ranked 12th in coal production in 2006. It had 13 underground coal mines in 2005, the most recent statistics available, according to the Utah Geological Survey.
Emery County, the state's No. 2 coal-producer, also was the site of a fire that killed 27 people in the Wilburg mine in December 1984.
Monday, August 6, 2007
Coal Mines: The Death Trap of the Future and Past
Simply because Mik is at YearlyKos and no one over at Jspot has posted this yet, I will step up the plate. It seems to me as if more people are getting stuck in Coal Mines. This isn't good especially as we see more pressure for "green" liquid coal production in our country increase. So what are we going to do to stop it?