Rather than adding to this thread, I’m starting a new one here.
The Crandall Mine collapse has gotten some bad news this weekend - a borehole drilled to one of the spots where officials had hoped that the miners might have been able to survive as found insufficient oxygen to support life, and no signs of any survivors. Mine and rescue officials are talking about calling off rescue efforts, and talking about not making any kind of recovery effort, either.
I can’t speak to the families’ assertion that had the large scale bore hole been attempted from the beginning no further lives would have been lost - I just don’t know enough to judge. I suspect that there are likely good and valid reasons for not making that decision, but I don’t know.
What does bother me is their assumption that there is some obligation to try to move the mountain (quite literally) to get their loved ones or at least their bodies out. I think that, after all this time, it’s unreasonable to assume, absent any evidence to support it, that the missing miners are still alive. And if they’re dead, in unknown areas, the efforts to recover the bodies, now, just seems too much for too little.
I know the families are claiming that sending down the escape capsule, if such a hole were drilled, would be relatively risk free - but I’m not sure I believe that. Given that the mountain, and the mine seem to be still experiencing ‘bumps’ I can easily imagine something happening to trap the escape capsule in the newly drilled shaft. If there were signs that there were survivors down there - the risk wouldn’t bother me so much. But for body recovery, it just seems too much.
Any other Dopers care to speak up?