What are the chances the Utah miners are still alive?

Several news reports indicate that officials and rescue workers are still guardedly optimistic that the six miners trapped in the Crandall Canyon Mine are still alive. I share their hope if not their optimism, of course, but is there a very good chance that they have survived this many days? Assuming they survived the initial collapse without major injury, would they have access to water? How long would the oxygen last in such a situation?

Supposedly they do have access to potable water and they also still may have air to breathe according to the mine owner. So if they do indeed have water and air they very well could still be alive if they didn’t die in the collapse.

This long after they were trapped - what has it been, almost two weeks? - I’m afraid the odds are very bad. Even if they had enough air, which I doubt, they’d be almost starving by now.

What’s the record?

Maybe as long as 23 days

Also, I seem to recall that tapping sounds were heard coming from the USS Arizona three weeks after she sank.

Oh my goodness, I would hope, more than anything, for a miracle. It would be absolutely amazing if they found them alive. My thoughts are with them!

MSNBC is reporting a second collapse at the Huntington mine, four ambulances and two helicopters taking surviors to the hospital, with CPR performed on the way. No evidence these are the missing miners, it is likely that rescuers have been injured.

Confirmed. 1 rescuer killed and 8 rescuers injured in a “mountain bump.”

According to the hospital CEO in Price, UT, one of the injured was treated and released, one has minor injuries and will be kept in the hospital overnight, four more have “significant” injuries. Three of the most seriously injured were transferred to Salt Lake City, and one of those died.

Update - 1 more rescuer has died.

They were over 3 miles into the mine when the “bump” occurred. A “mountain bump” is pressure inside the mine that shoots coal from the walls with great force.

I wonder if they’re going to call off the rescue efforts now. Sounds cold, but I’m not the guy in charge, and that person may decide that it’s not worth losing more lives.

Total of three rescuers now claimed as dead, six more injured.

A ‘bump’ can be not unlike a claymore anti-personnel mine - Except with rock and coal bursting from the wall, instead of of ball bearings.

According to Breitbart, “Mining officials were considering whether to suspend the rescue effort.”

It would be difficult to justify risking more lives in an effort to rescue men who are in all likelihood already dead.

I’ve resisted from posting here on this board about this incident, because I’ve personally worked for this mine (like others which have had accidents).

This mine, and many others around it, are known to have routine occurrences of “explosions” of coal and rock from the working areas. The mines are very deep and the rock is not that stable in some areas. These mines in particular have long been thought to be “generally” stable, with local areas of danger. Behind the shielding erected when the miner is in operation, it’s not typically a danger. When longwall operations are ongoing, at some of the mines the miners are forced to wear kevlar/padded suits which they call “storm trooper outfits”, because they look sort of like storm troopers from Star Wars. These mines are not known to have “sinks” of pillars, where a pillar is forced into a floor, because the rock is too hard. Rather, the brittle rock tends to fracture under stress and explode.

These Utah mines are known to be very noisy and creepy, with a lot of noise and groaning, but overall have a decent safety record. The mines are referred to as “haunted”, “living”, and “jumping”, depending upon who you talk to. Drinking and drug use are known problems due to the stress of working under these conditions.

This mine, and another one near it which I will not name (but have visited), have of late developed a reputation for being a “disaster waiting to happen.” There have been conflicting reports in the news that this mine was in the process of being shut down this year, and what they were doing was getting the last dregs of coal out to make some quick profit - retreat mining. The CEO says they weren’t doing it; my sources who have talked to the miners at the mine say they were doing it, and had approval to do so. My understanding was that the mine was actually not going to be shut down, as they have bids out to supply coal through 2010 at a minimum.

Why do retreat mining? Retreat mining, pulling pillars, whatever you want to call it is highly profitable - you get a lot of good coal for very little effort. Some mines will tell you off the record that they wouldn’t really make a profit except for the retreat mining which is done, but I’m uncertain if I believe that. I do know that you can make a net profit in Utah of well more than $10 per ton of raw coal. Multiply that by 100 tons per hour mean removal, a relatively low speed of removal, and you get $1000 an hour of profit. In the Appalachians, that net profit could be as high as $30 per ton.

How likely is it that the miners are alive? It’s not possible to estimate, because every single mine is a unique circumstance. It’s like asking “how many people will live in a plane crash” - you know it’s likely that most will die, but other than that…I will say that given the recent setback and the slow progress through the mine thus far, unless some communication is established via the holes they’re drilling, my guess is that they will take two or more weeks more to reach the miners. But then, they could get lucky and have a breakthrough to a large uncollapsed space, so no one knows.

That guy needs to shut the hell up. Every press conference gets nuttier and nuttier. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to hear him blame the current setback on a giant laser beam fired by Jimmy Hoffa from his orbiting space lair.

I’ve been calling him Coal Mine Bob.

His insistence on the “earthquake” causing it, in the absence of sound evidence, is getting very stupid. As one of the lawyers at work (who has been involved in many accident lawsuits regarding coal mines) said: “It’s not going to change a God damned thing in court even if it was an earthquake. The payout is almost sure as shit going to be the same.” I cannot fathom why he is doing it, other than to speculate that he’s trying to save his reputation somehow, or he’s just in denial.

It’s even becoming a sick joke in the industry. The other day, I heard an Engineer remark sarcastically “Looks like we’re over budget about $13,000. Hey, maybe it was an earthquake!”

What amazes me is how wide the mine galleries are-and low! No more wooden posts-the miners now drive expansion bolts (and chainlink fencing attached) to the ceilings. It must be scarey down there-at such great depoths, the rock literally can explode. I’m told that in the very deep South African mines (4500 ft.?)-the floors bow up due to the tremendous pressures. anyhow-what happens to coal at greater depths-is it squeezed into graphite?
Those miners earn their pay!

I don’t mean to hijack this thread, but do you have a source for that? I find it astounding that men might have been trapped aboard the Arizona for three weeks and the navy didn’t know about it or go rescue them after the attack was over.

Zev Steinhardt

It was the USS West Virginia:


It was “some documentary” on The History Channel. This was a testimonial from one of the survivors. Now, I can’t attest to the accuracy of his testimonial, only my hearing it in a documentary. He (or they) went on to say that one of the many nerve-wracking duties of shore patrol was hearing those sounds, knowing that there was nothing they could do, until, finally, there were no more sounds.

I’m fuzzy on why there was no attempt to rescue them, but I seem to recall that they did mention this, too.

And in conclusion, let me retract “USS Arizona.” I know that there were quite a few ships sunk, and I can’t say for sure that they were referring specifically to the Arizona.