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Front Page » August 7, 2007 » Local News » Cave-in at Crandall Canyon mine traps six miners underground
Published 3,487 days ago

Cave-in at Crandall Canyon mine traps six miners underground

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UtahAmerican Energy Inc. president and CEO, Bob Murray points out the spot where the trapped miners are on the map.

There has been a cave-in at the Crandall Canyon Mine in Huntington Canyon on Aug. 6. At approximately 3:47 a.m. a call came into the Emery County Sheriff's Office dispatch reporting an earthquake had occurred in Emery County with the epicenter in the vicinity of the UtahAmerican Energy, Inc. mine in Crandall Canyon. At approximately 3:51 a.m. the Crandall Canyon Mine called in to report there had been damage at the mine.

The earthquake is believed to be 1,500 feet deep and approximately 5,000 feet south of where six miners are now trapped.

At the bottom of the mine road on SR-31 a press conference was held where Bob Murray, company president, founder and CEO spoke to the press. He immediately came to the scene from Montana at the first call reporting the trouble within the mine. He said he was on site within two and a half hours after receiving the call. He boarded his private plane and flew out at a moments notice. Upon arriving in Emery County he visited with the missing miners families.

Bob Murray, company president speaks with the reporters at a press conference at the mouth of the mine road. He said he will keep the community informed on the rescue in progress at the mine.

Murray said, "Our company employs 3,300 employees throughout the United States. Six employees have been trapped in the mine as a result of an earthquake and damage underground has occurred. The names of the men have not been released. Hopefully we will rescue them. Four of the 10 men escaped without difficulty. The family members were notified immediately.

"Ted Farmer is the supervisor of the Price office for MSHA. He is on the scene and Doug Johnson, the director of corporate services. We have the best personnel on the site. We have professionals from safety and rescue teams. The focus of this effort is the evacuation of the trapped miners. We are taking four courses of action. We know where the men are located. We will get to them. It's just a matter of how quickly. The families have been advised and administered to. I met with the families personally four hours ago. All humanly possible is being done and as quickly as possible," said Murray.

The miners are approximately 3.4 miles from the entrance into where they are trapped. There has been no contact with the trapped miners. Murray stated the area where the miners are trapped is in crosscuts 126-130. This is a large area which has plenty of air and water. It is hoped the miners are there back behind the caved-in part of the mine. Murray was hopeful that area of the mine wasn't damaged in the quake.

Murray emphasized there are four methods being utilized to access the trapped miners but would not elaborate on the methods. He said he would let everyone know which method had been successful when the time comes.

Murray fielded questions from the reporters present. He wanted to dispel the rumor that active mining had caused an earthquake. When asked what everyone could do he simply said to pray.

The UtahAmerican Energy Company brings in equipment from other mines to aid in the rescue effort.

"Our company has a great safety record. In 20 years we have never had a serious accident. There is a good chance we will find the men unblemished. We have 71 miners at the Crandall Canyon mine. We also operate the Tower mine, West Ridge mine and the Wildcat loadout facility. We employ 700 people in this area," said Murray.

In response to a question about gases, Murray replied the Crandall Canyon mine is not a mine that has gas problems. He said he has been in mining for 50 years and has been trapped before, the safety of the employees is their primary concern.

"This is very serious and we are leaving no stone unturned in getting these men out. It could take 48 hours we don't know. Hope and prayers is all we have and the best expertise available. There are four rescue teams and other employees, we are moving in machinery from other mines and some is being brought in by helicopter. We will provide updates as information becomes available. Every two hours we will report and give an update. We have delayed in talking to the media because we were working to get people into place for the rescue. We were making sure everything was on its way. I will be the one giving the updates because I think that's important. Trust us, we are doing everything we can. We are trying four different things right now.

"I talked to the families and they aren't saying much. I hope it all turns out to be good news. The odds are that we will be pulling six men out unharmed, but I could be wrong. We have numerous men underground working to get them out," said Murray.

It is not known at this time how much area has caved. It is speculated the cave only goes a few hundred feet back, but it's not definite at this time.

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