Orrin G. Hatch visited with local leaders, family members, and officials of the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) on the continuing effort to rescue the six trapped miners in Crandall Canyon Mine. Underground mining to reach the men was suspended following Thursday's apparent seismic bump in which three rescuers were killed and another six injured.
"This is a tragic situation, not only for those who were trapped last week, but now unfortunately also for those Good Samaritans who tried to rescue them and became victims themselves," Hatch said. "I hope that rescue operations can be resumed and we find these men quickly and safely without putting anyone else at risk, but these decisions need to be made by the mining experts on the ground, not politicians."
This is the second time Hatch has visited the site of the tragedy and he has been in continual contact with MSHA leaders since the news broke. Hatch lauds the way MSHA officials are performing their responsibilities and knows they are doing everything in their power to find the miners.
"Now is the time to mourn those friends and family members we lost and pray for those who are still missing," Hatch said. "Mining is by nature a very hazardous occupation, and it's a vital one. As sad as this experience is, it's an important reminder for the rest of America about the jobs some are doing to make sure the wheels of our country keep turning."
As far a federal response to the event, Hatch said MSHA will completely investigate the tragedy and Congress should hold hearings, but at the appropriate time. But the professionals at MSHA should be allowed to do their jobs first, Hatch said.
"I know that many in Congress will want to get involved in this, and I'll support the efforts to make sure miners are as safe as possible,"
Hatch said. "But for the present time, we need to let the professionals do their job, with our support but without our interference."