Eighteen days into the mine disaster at Crandall Canyon. What a torrent of emotions and conflicts for our small county. Highs and lows. What a terrible thing for these families to have to face after three weeks. Their loved ones might not be coming back.
With the force of that seismic activity of 1.9 on Aug. 16 which killed the three rescuers and injured six others you have to wonder if the initial seismic activity of 3.9 on Aug. 6 killed the miners.
With the drilling of six, now seven bore holes and no activity or noise from the mine, maybe they have passed on. There has been talk this past week from the families wanting a 36 inch bore hole drilled. The way I understand it, the breathing apparatus could keep someone alive for four hours. It would take one hour to descend that far through the mountain. One hour to look around and one hour to be brought back up to the surface.
If the miners are there on the other side of where the rubble came in; then why hasn't there been any sounds from them. If they are buried there on the other side of the rubble, then one person in one hour wouldn't be able to dig them out to retrieve the bodies.
What's happened has been a terrible tragedy. It was made worse with the additional deaths of three men and the injury of six others. No one expected events to change dramatically as they did. I fully expected them to be able to mine through the rubble to rescue or recover the trapped miners.
But, it just doesn't look like that is possible. It doesn't make sense to some to risk more lives for people who may possibly have been deceased for 18 days now. Why would you risk more life just to retrieve bodies and then rebury them in a cemetery somewhere. I don't think it matters much where we end up when we leave this life. I think all deceased persons should be treated with dignity and respect. All human life is sacred. But where is the sense. The mine isn't the ideal place where these families want their loved ones to remain, but there may not be anything they can do about it.
One of my brothers friends drowned in Lake Powell several years ago. His body was never recovered. The family put a gravemarker in the Huntington Cemetery. They have a place to visit and remember. We don't stay with our bodies anyway, they are just a shell, a shelter for our souls. It is tragic. But, there are many times bodies aren't recovered. Sometimes people burn to death in explosions and they just aren't recovered. People drown at sea and are never recovered.
Don't get me wrong, I have shed many tears from the first day. I have cried up and down the canyon attending press conferences. I have cried for Mr. Murray and for the families. I cried two hours at Dale Black's funeral. But, the terrible truth is life must go on. Life is for the living. These miners who have passed on wouldn't want their families to pine away. They must go on no matter how hard it is. Everyone has lost loved ones. Everyone has to find the strength to carry on. Life isn't fair, life isn't easy.
Through this whole ordeal, I think one of the things said that has helped me the most was from my sports reporter, Gary Arrington. He said, "This life is just temporary, we are only here for a short time and we don't know how long that is and this is not the end. We will go on living, in paradise, heaven or whatever you want to call it, life goes on."
If they have passed on, I can't feel bad for them. They are at peace. I feel terrible for the families left to pick up the pieces, the babies that will grow up without dads. The grandkids who will never see their grandpa again. But, I also live with a surety that they will be reunited one day, in a better place with their families and friends. This is a hard time. A shadow of grief hangs over our community. We are heartbroken. But in time we shall heal and our hearts will mend. Not soon, but some day.