Six Miners Trapped in Collapsed Utah Mine

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Six miners have been trapped by a cave-in at a coal mine in Huntington, Utah. Rescue workers are trying to locate the miners, but so far, there has been no contact with them.


A coal mine collapsed deep beneath the surface of Central Utah today. Six miners are trapped, and rescue crews are trying to reach them. The collapse was at the Genwal Mine, near Huntington, Utah. Utah Governor Jon Huntsman briefed reporters a short time ago. Let's listen to what he had to say.

G: Every expense is being made in order to do this right. No stone left unturned. They're bringing in the professionals and all the equipment they need. Hopefully, they make this a successful outcome.

SEABROOK: Mine officials say they know where the miners were working at the time, but have no information on their conditions so far.

NPR's Howard Berkes is near the rescue team's command post. Howard, what's the latest?

HOWARD BERKES: Well, the latest is that there are four methods being used to try to reach these miners. They believe they know exactly where they are, so they are using those coordinates. They had a helicopter dropping a drilling rig on top of where they believe they are, and that drilling rig will start drilling toward them. That's not something that will be a very quick way of reaching them. Another method they're using is they've got two mining machines in the mine itself, drilling towards the men through the rock that fell after the earthquake. That's also not a quick method of reaching them, but it's one thing they're doing.

They're also talking about drilling horizontally through the mine to try to reach them. Again, not a quick method. The most promising thing that they've talked about is actually going in through old mining shafts that are no longer used. They're breaking the seals on those. Once they break the seals, which are concrete and plastic, they can actually just simply walk through to where they think the miners are. They'll be separated by a seam of coal, and then they'll start drilling through that coal. And because the coal is soft, they think this is the quickest way to get to them.

SEABROOK: So they're coming towards them at - from all directions, it sounds like.

BERKES: Yes, yes. They're trying a multitude of methods to try to reach them.

SEABROOK: Howard, just quickly, any idea how this happened?

BERKES: Well, there's - the preliminary report and, really, speculation about an earthquake. We know an earthquake occurred around the time that the mine collapse occurred. What we don't know is whether the mine collapse registered as an earthquake or an earthquake caused the mine collapse. That's still undetermined.

SEABROOK: That's NPR's Howard Berkes.

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