When is enough enough in the Utah mine rescue?

I can appreciate both sides of the story. The families of the trapped (likely now dead) miners want closure and that’s why they continue to demand that a rescue capsule is sent down to rescue (likely dead) miners in an area where they are not even known to be even after members of the rescue team have given their lives to find the trapped.

On the other hand, I thought about 5-6 days ago that it was a REAL longshot that they would be found alive, if at all, that far underground if they weren’t rescued in the first few days. Especially since there was no indication that they were ever alive after the collapse. Once the 3 rescuers died they should have called it a day, mainly because there was still no indication that anyone was alive down there, and because there is no sense in people dying to rescue dead people. Once that Chinese mine disaster happened with 180+ dead (I think) it kind of took the wind out of the sails of this rescue.

Now that the feds have shut down the rescue, I think Murray is hurting himself by continuing to say that they could still be alive, even today, over 2 weeks since the accident. He needs to say what needs to be said so people can get on with life out there. I don’t think it’s fair for the families to be criticising the rescue effort either after people have given their lives to try to find their (likely dead) family members against impossible odds.

What do you think?

I agree. It’s over.

There is apparently not much oxygen down there, the area is not stable, and three rescuers have already died. It’s sad, but they really should stop.

But, people are praying for their safe return. They can’t stop now!

That mine owner (is he half Mongolian or something? Not that that matters or anything.) is probably thinking to himself “geez, I wish they’d turn up dead already so we don’t have to keep wasting money trying to find them.”

I come from close enough to coal mining country to know that you don’t leave miners in the mine. Alive or dead, if at all possible, you have to get them out. It’s certainly sad that those rescuers died, and I can see how one would ask if it’s worth all this. But, yeah, it is. It’s part of the culture of mining.

This is the key phrase, “… if at all possible, you have to get them out.”

Does that mean at all costs? That part of the mine seems to be collapsing little by little.

I get this completely…to me, it’s part of the responsibility of the mining company, who puts their workers at such risk as part of the job. Certainly, it’s the least you can do for the families who have lost loved ones.

On the other hand, 3 people have already been killed in the rescue attempt. How risky is it to continue rescue/recovery? I would hate to see anyone else killed in this tragic situation.

I could never get that whole “We never leave a buddy–or his body–behind,” attitude and if anybody wastes time, money, and lives going after me when there is no hope I swear I will haunt him forever.

Whatever “the least” is in this situation, it’s already been done and exceeded. They’ve drilled multiple holes, tried to contact them, tested the air and so on, and kept trying for more than a week. It’s unfair to rescue workers and their families to risk more lives, and if the mining company is responsible for those miners, it doesn’t have the right to do that to the rescuers.

Wasn’t that my point in the second part of my post, or did I not make that clear?

I wasn’t sure what you were saying- I didn’t think you were saying “they should do more,” exactly.

When would the families relent? When more rescue workers have died than there are miners who were trapped in the original collapse?

Is there some bizarre and sad body count, some scale of mining justice that makes it not okay to stop now? And, what if they press on and it comes to pass that a total of 9 rescue miners die trying to save the original 6? Who apologizes to whom?

And why? Why should more lives be put at stake? Is it some twisted noble mining culture to throw away more and more and more LIVING human beings so the families will have dead bodies to bury?

Is the sick irony completely lost on these people? Quite a few families had nothing to bury after September 11th, 2001 and I didn’t see them hawking around, demanding that there be blood sacrifices to somehow balance the books.

It’s horrifying. The men are dead. It’s an awful way to die, unless they went fast in the initial collapse. No doubt about that, it gives any sentient being nightmares to contemplate. However, sacrificing MORE LIVES won’t bring them back.

And it’s high time someone in Utah admitted that fact.

ETA: I read this in Preview and again just now. It comes off harsher than I mean it to but I am going to let it stand. I’m just disgusted at this strange and sick balance of human life. Two wrongs don’t make a right. More dead don’t make the original less dead. They must stop.


I wondered the same thing when I saw him on TV. Although I’d say given the location, Native American is more likely.

One of the people who died was a mine inspector so you can draw the conclusion that safety was taken into consideration. If the mine is completely unstable at this point then the only real option would be a top-down rescue hole as was seen years ago. For whatever reason that was not done. Without any knowledge of mining I’ll assume it was not possible in a timely manner.

The Family members will eventually come to terms with the reality of the situation.

The “rescue capsule” idea is a suicide mission. Mine officials have ruled it out because the mountain is too unstable. Besides, while it was used successfully in the Quecreek mine disaster, that mine was only 240 feet under ground. The Utah mine is over 1500 feet beneath the surface. Anyone going down in that capsule is likely never to be seen again.

I can say that nobody “in the know” is taking the “rescue capsule” idea seriously for this location. It’s unfortunate that both the families of the victims and the media were even presented with this as some sort of ray of hope.

My source onsite tells me that most folks had given up before the deaths of the rescuers last week, and that right now they’re sort of in a “twilight zone” of having to look like they’re doing something when there’s 1) really nothing they can do that’s productive, and 2) folks are afraid of the backlash when they quit. This having to meet the expectations of the families and friends is causing an unbelievable amount of stress on the rescuers.

I was saying that in these circumstances, they probably shouldn’t do more, although if the circumstances were different, I can understand what Kelly5078 said…it does help to explain why the families are reacting the way they are.

Let’s not forget two things:

  1. The owner of the mine apparently has a long history of mine safety violations. His words ring hollow when measured against his inactions to keep his employees safe.

  2. The Director of MSHA used to be an industry mine owner himself, complete with his own history of safety violations with his own mines. He was appointed by Bush as Director of MSHA, but the Republican-controlled Congress at the time was so disgusted with his resume, they refused to confirm him into the job. Bush waited until Congress was in recess to appoint him into the job as a recess appointment.

You cannot honestly talk about mine safety, mine accidents and subsequent mine rescues, when the owner of the mine is a wolf and overseen by another wolf.

Let me throw in a hearty “fuck you” to Robert Murray, the owner and serious nutcase. Starting on day one, when he insisted the collapse was due to an earthquake despite evidence to the contrary, and continuing to such goofball statements as ‘we will recue them even if they’re dead’, denying that ‘retreat mining’ was happening even though the technique had been approved for the site and miners there saying that was happening, he is the very last guy I would want to put my life on the line for.