Remembering the Fallen Miners in Utah

Scott Simon remembers the miners who died this week trying to rescue their colleagues in Utah.

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SCOTT SIMON, host:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

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When a mine collapses and men are trapped, it's traditional to ask for volunteers to go back into a dark shattering place to dig and search for the men inside. It's dangerous, quite literally, death defying work, but there are usually so many volunteers, they have to turn people away.

This week, three rescuers died trying to reach the six miners who have been trapped eighteen hundred feet inside Utah's Crandall Canyon Mine for the past 12 days. As Utah Governor Jon Huntsman said, we went from a tragedy to a catastrophe.

One of the men was Gary Jensen, a federal Mine Safety and Health Administration inspector. The next time you hear someone in vague and faceless federal bureaucrats, you might want to remember that Gary Jensen gave his life this week.

Two of the rescuers who died were Brandon Kimber and Dale Black. Mr. Kimber had three children; Dale Black had two. One of the trapped miners was his cousin Kerry Allred, and an old friend Kent Wilson(ph) told reporters: Dale was very passionate about getting in to save those miners. They were all family to him.

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