Utah Mine Rescuers Hit Setback Families of the six coal miners trapped more than three weeks ago when the Crandall Canyon mine in Utah collapsed wait as officials drill a seventh exploratory hole into the mine. They plan to lower a robotic camera into a kitchen area where the miners could have taken cover.

Utah Mine Rescuers Hit Setback

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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

The search goes on today for those six miners trapped more than three weeks ago when the Crandall Canyon Mine in Utah collapsed. Families wait as officials drill a seventh exploratory hole into the mine. The plan is to lower a robotic camera into a kitchen area where the miners could have taken cover.

Eric Erickson is one of the family members hoping for word of his son, Don Erickson, who's still lost in the mine. Thank you for joining us.

Mr. ERIC ERICKSON (Father): You bet.

MONTAGNE: Where are you, and if you can speak for the families, where are you in terms of what's possible? What's the hopeful range for you?

Mr. ERICKSON: We're hoping - the hope to find them alive has dwindled quite a bit. And we're hoping that we can find where they're at so they can recover them and not have to leave them in there and just seal the mine off. Of course we're hoping that they can - a miracle will happen and they can find them alive, but it's very dim.

MONTAGNE: To you then at this point it would be a miracle.

Mr. ERICKSON: It is possible. The boreholes that they drilled - they put a video camera down there and it showed that some of the areas are open. And if they barricaded themselves off, which they're taught to do, they could have sealed in some good air. If they'd done that, it is possible that they could be alive still yet.

MONTAGNE: Tell us about your son, Don Erickson.

Mr. ERICKSON: Okay.

MONTAGNE: Did he enjoy mining?

Mr. ERICKSON: He liked mining. He'd done quite a bit of it. He was my companion. He was my friend. We've fished and hunted together. We thought a lot of one another. We had done all kinds of things together. Worked together, played together. And I miss him a lot.

MONTAGNE: Many of the families have complained about the mine officials and there were many complaints about the mine owner, Bob Murray. Do you think at this point he's managed to do what he - all he could do?

Mr. ERICKSON: I think he'd done a good job of trying to get to the miners. It was - he'd done the right thing by shutting the rescue off - the rescue effort because of the conditions, and you don't want to get someone else hurt. It's something that we don't want to give up on. We want to find them one way or the other and get them out of there other than to just seal the mine off. That's what Mr. Murray wants to do now, is just seal the mine off, which would be less expensive for him than any other option, but we're trying our best to keep that from happening and trying our best to find out where they're at so we can maybe recover them.

MONTAGNE: Mr. Erickson, thank you for talking with us, and all the best to you.

Mr. ERICKSON: Thank you.

MONTAGNE: Eric Erickson's son, Don Erickson, is among the miners who have been lost in Utah's Crandall Canyon Mine.

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