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 Post subject: MINE EXPLOSION IN WEST VIRGINIA
PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:13 pm 
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Location: Hard coal region, PA
13 missing, 9 out alive. Not much known yet...............


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:40 pm 
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Location: Hard coal region, PA
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/01/ ... 0G04.shtml



http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/co ... 09,00.html


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:41 pm 
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Location: Hard coal region, PA
they both call it a shaft . . .it must be a slope


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2006 11:47 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 9:08 pm
Posts: 53
Location: Reading PA
I wrote to CNN and Fox and told them they were using the wrong terminology and that it was unlikely they were 2 miles underground. @ miles in yes, but not 2 miles down. They now say they are about 260' down. I gve them links to UGM, no9 and the Pochahontas WV mine site. So now who's Wife, Grilfriend, Mom is going to be all worried next time we go exploring ? I will work on getting the pictures clean up form MY last PA tunnel trip. Been real busy with Holidays, but now thats over. Dave

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2006 2:31 pm 
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Location: Winnemucca, NV
Its a drift. Check out my post here:

http://www.ironminers.com/mineforum/viewtopic.php?t=256

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Last edited by Miner Mike on Wed Jan 04, 2006 12:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2006 10:54 pm 
As far as I understand from what I've heard on the radio, the situation looks pretty grim. An apparent bore hole to the supposed site of the trapped miners has revealed carbon monoxide at about three times the lethal level. Attempts have been made to communicate with the men by banging on pipes, but there has been no response.

Given the nature of modern mining, there just aren't many places for the miners to have gone either. Years ago, a miner could have saved himself by seeking out pockets of good air in older workings. Today, these mines are worked on a smaller scale and the old workings are filled in as soon as they are worked out.

The self rescuers that the men had with them are only good for about 7 hours or so. With over forty hours underground (and counting), I just don't see much hope for a happy ending to all of this. I hope I'm wrong!

P.S. I just checked the Fox News website and read that they've found the body of one of the miners about 11,250 feet in. Heres a link to the story: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,180502,00.html
Let's all keep these men and their families in our thoughts and our prayers. If there was ever a time to hope for a miracle...this is it!


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 Post subject: BREAKING NEWS
PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2006 1:03 am 
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Location: Winnemucca, NV
BREAKING NEWS
As of 5 minutes ago, it has been announced that the other 12 miners were found alive after being trapped for 41 hours! Not much further detail has been announced but they must have been able to move to an area of the mine with safe air quality. Terry Helms [sp?] has been confirmed as the miner who unfortunately lost his life. Our hearts go out to his family.

Miner Mike

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2006 3:22 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2005 1:31 am
Posts: 27
Location: Scranton,Pa
Its good to hear they got those guys out...Sadly one had to perish and be added to the long list of men who gave their life underground trying to earn a living. We all know how dangerous of a job coal mining is and its amazing to me that after all these years and all the technology that we have that something like this still happens. I know things are never going to be completly safe its just sad to hear.. While looking at some information on the tragedy I found a list of the worst coal mining diasters in U.S. History and sadly not one mention of any of the Anthracite Disasters... Its sad that people forgot what fueled the Ind. Rev. of long ago... Heres the link..... http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10692461/

Dixon


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 Post subject: Horrible News About the Trapped Coal Miners in West Virginia
PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2006 6:17 am 
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There was some horrific miscommunication between the rescue teams and those on the surface. The horrible truth is that twelve of the thirteen miners were found dead...the exact opposite of the news that we heard around Midnight last night. The lone survivor is in critical condition.

May the twelve who lost their lives rest in peace, and may God comfort their families. Our condolences to all of them.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2006 10:58 am 
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Location: Within 60 Miles of the Northern Anthracite Field
the one that did survive is the 27 year old man. he is in critical condition, unconcious and on a respirator.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2006 11:42 am 
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Location: Above the Sterling Hill Mine
Our hearts go out to the families and the miners who were lost in the unfortunate accident in the Sago Mine. From what I last heard, the miner who survived the CO is in stable condition and has no signs of brain damage from the high levels of CO which was trapped in the mine. Our prayers are with him that he has a successful recovery.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2006 12:34 pm 
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Location: Above the Sterling Hill Mine
Hopefully everything goes well for Randy McCloy. He has been moved to Pittsburgh PA and given treaments in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber. This oxygen chamber which normally would be used for people suffering from the bends, gives Randy 100% oxygen under pressure to force oxygen into the body to help overcome the Carbon Monoxide stuck in his blood and attached to his cells. Originally Randy was showing improvement in the hospital. He was opening his eyes when he name was spoken and squeezing his wife's hand but this eventually stopped and he has not shown any further consciousness. Right now he is sedated and they plan to keep him this way until the oxygen treatments are completed.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2006 1:06 pm 
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Location: Above the Sterling Hill Mine
Below is a simplized map showing the general shape of the mine, where the miners were found, and where the blast appeared to have originated from.

Image


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2006 11:49 am 
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Location: Within 60 Miles of the Northern Anthracite Field
new york times..........the best article ive read yet..................................

SAGO, W.Va., Jan. 6 - It is perhaps the most heartbreaking question raised by a heartbreaking accident. Did 12 miners die deep inside the Sago Mine because, instead of trying to walk to safety after an explosion, they waited for help that took too long to arrive?

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Richard Perry/The New York Times
People paid their respects Friday to the 12 men who died in the Sago Mine at a memorial in front of the county courthouse in Philippi, W.Va.
They apparently had enough oxygen in their respirators to last an hour or more and no wall of debris blocked their escape, mine company officials said. They could not have known it, but there was breathable air inside the mine, possibly just 2,000 feet away.

Cut off from communications with the outside, surrounded by thick smoke and deep darkness, they might have believed a fire was raging ahead of them, or that the mine roof was in danger of collapsing. They might have become disoriented by carbon monoxide poisoning.

Whatever the answer, they did what the textbooks instruct: they built a simple barricade out of plastic cloth in an alcove 13,000 feet from the mine portal and hunkered down to wait for help. That help arrived more than 40 hours later, when all but one were dead.

"If they had been able to walk another 1,500 feet, they might have made it," said Dennis O'Dell, the health and safety administrator for the United Mine Workers of America, who helped in the rescue.

Autopsies by the state's chief medical examiner found that the 12 miners died of carbon monoxide intoxication, John Law, a spokesman for the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, said Friday.

As state and federal investigators began a sweeping investigation of the accident, they have begun grappling with some of the most perplexing questions to have been raised about mine safety in memory.

What caused the explosion, which apparently occurred in a sealed, abandoned part of the mine? What led to the miscommunication that caused the miners' families to believe for three hours that the men had been rescued? Why was one miner, Randal McCloy Jr., able to survive?

And would a quicker response have saved the miners as they huddled behind their barricade, harboring their oxygen and scribbling notes to their families?

There was no rescue team on the mine site, so teams had to be called in from other mines, a process that might have been slowed by holiday vacations, rescue officials said. The closest federal team, in Morgantown about 70 miles away, had lost members to attrition and took several more hours to deploy, said J. Davitt McAteer, a former assistant secretary of mine safety and health under the Clinton administration.

And once the teams arrived at the site, equipment had to be mustered, maps reviewed and air quality tested. There were concerns about fire. The result was that the first teams did not enter the mine until more than 11 hours after the explosion, the mine company's owner, International Coal Group, said.

Those delays might have been unavoidable, and it was not clear that the men could have been saved even with a faster response. But some experts assert that the delays point to broader problems in the nation's mine rescue system.

A 1995 federal study concluded that the system was antiquated, losing people and poorly financed. But Mr. McAteer said few of those concerns had been addressed.

"Time is the enemy in mine rescues," said Mr. McAteer, now a vice president of Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia. "Always is. You know that from the start."

For the miners heading into the Sago Mine, which had been closed Saturday and Sunday for the New Year's holiday, the workweek began at 5 a.m. Monday at the dressing area. Less than an hour later, 26 men were joking their way down the incline to the mine, where they ducked out of a violent thunderstorm.

Two small rail cars waited. One team of 13 - including Martin Toler Jr., Jesse Jones, Randal McCloy Jr. and Terry Helms - clambered into the first car. But Hoy Keith, 62, a miner for 31 years, said his crew had been left a runt rail car that could not fit them. A new car was found, and the second team left 10 minutes late. Those minutes might have saved them.

The mine resembles a backward "F," with the closest corridor called First Left, and the next one called Second Left. The first crew dropped Mr. Helms somewhere past First Left, then headed into Second Left.

Minutes later, around 6:30 a.m., Mr. Keith's team reached First Left. Just then, what felt to them like a fist of hurricane-force wind punched through them. Somewhere ahead, something had exploded

Chunks of rock and coal pelted the miners. Sheets of dirt splattered their safety glasses. "It filled my mouth full of mud, my nose full of mud, my ears full of coal dust," said Ron Grall, who is 63. "I couldn't breathe."

In seconds, the men got out of the car, donned respirators and groped for one another and then for the wall to guide them outside. After 700 or 800 feet, they heard shouts of "Fresh air!" Rescuers with a rail car met them and took them to the entrance.

But Owen Jones, the foreman of the rescued crew, refused to stay put. With three rescuers, he headed back to search for his brother, Jesse Jones. "Just about everybody was hollering for him to go home," Mr. Keith said. "But people who had their heads knew he had a brother in there." The four got about 9,000 feet inside the mine before they turned back because of concerns about toxic air.

On the other side of the explosion were 13 men. Mr. Helms, whose job included checking for methane gas, was hit with its full force. The other 12 were ahead of him in Second Left, where they would remain for the duration of the ordeal.

Outside the mine, the rescue effort was slowly getting assembled. Mine officials called state and federal regulators, many of whom were still off for the holiday and had to be reached at home or on cellphones. Two teams from nearby Barbour County, who had a contract with the Sago Mine, were summoned, but supervisors knew that would not be enough, so they requested help from other mining companies.

One of the first teams to arrive was from the Robinson Run mine near Fairmont, W.Va., owned by Consul Energy, about 50 miles away. Jeff Bienkoski, a 54-year-old member of that team, had just finished a 10-hour shift when he got the call at about 10 a.m. He gathered his equipment and raced to the mine, arriving after 12:30 p.m., he said, about six hours after the explosion is believed to have occurred. Mines are not required by federal law to have rescue teams on site provided such teams can arrive within two hours. Company officials declined to comment on when the first teams arrived in Sago.

In the next few hours, several more of the specially trained teams arrived. But they were not allowed to go into the mine until nearly 6 p.m., more than 11 hours after the explosion, company officials said.

Though it always takes time for teams to review maps, check equipment and develop a strategy, critics of the mining company, including the mine workers' union, have questioned why it took so long for the teams to be allowed into the mine.

Matt Barkett, a spokesman for the mine's owner, said the main reason for the delay was concern about high carbon monoxide levels inside the mine, which were initially measured at 1,300 parts per million, enough to kill a person without a respirator within minutes. He said the high levels had raised concerns about fire.

Once inside, the six- to eight-man teams worked meticulously, rotating through the mine in shifts. Mine rescues are extraordinarily dangerous because of the threat of secondary explosions, toxic gases and roof cave-ins. At a mine owned by Jim Walter Resources Inc. in Alabama, nine men who ran to the aid of some injured miners were killed in a secondary explosion in 2001.

"These mine rescue guys are eager, they aren't afraid of the devil," Mr. O'Dell said. "Sometimes you've got to keep them from going too fast."

Charles Ross, 54, who worked for 25 years on a mine rescue team for Consul Energy, said the rescuers must carefully check for damage to the roof. Concrete and metal walls used to direct the flow of air must be repaired to restore proper ventilation. The air must be repeatedly checked. And every square inch must be inspected for bodies or barricades.

"People don't realize how much work there is," Mr. Ross said. "It's time consuming."

Across the street from the mine entrance, relatives and friends had gathered at the Sago Baptist Church. Frustration was growing at the pace of the rescue.

One of the people trying to soothe the families was Gov. Joe Manchin III, who had been in Atlanta on Monday morning to see West Virginia University play in the Sugar Bowl but flew home that afternoon as the magnitude of the accident became clear.

For the rest of Monday and throughout the day Tuesday, family members waited for updates from the company.

Then before 9 p.m. on Tuesday, company officials informed family members at the church that one miner's body had been found, but that there was still no sign of the others. People wailed in anguish, but Mr. Manchin saw a ray of hope. That miner was later identified as Mr. Helms.

But the rail car a few hundred feet from his was empty. Even lunch pails had been taken. All that remained were casings from the miners' respirators. To Mr. Manchin, it seemed a sign that the miners had escaped the blast and did what they were supposed to do: found breathable air and built a barricade to keep the toxic air out.

"That would be our miracle scenario," said Lara Ramsburg, Mr. Manchin's spokeswoman. "If you were looking for something to hang on to, this was something. You were thinking: they got out of there."

About 11:45 Tuesday night, a call came from a "fresh air" rescue operation base deep inside the mine - so called because workers do not need respirators. Though the exact wording of the call is uncertain, company officials say a roomful of people heard the same message: The 12 miners had been found, and all were alive.

Pandemonium broke out inside the rescue command center. Someone used a cellphone to call people at the church with the news. The church bells began tolling and a celebration began. A joyful Mr. Manchin made his way from the church to the command center to seek confirmation, telling someone, "Miracles do happen."

But two miles inside the mine, there was only one survivor, Mr. McCloy, and the rescue team was struggling to stabilize and then move him to the fresh air base. When they reached that base, they called the command center with a new message: They were coming out with the one survivor.

What caused the miscommunication is unclear. Mine company officials said it might have been the result of garbled transmissions by rescue workers wearing oxygen masks, or a misinterpretation of that transmission by the fresh air base.

Mr. O'Dell said that sending messages from the mine was a three-step process, requiring radio calls between two rescue bases where miners were wearing oxygen masks to the fresh air base, which had a hard wire line to the command center.

Mr. O'Dell said that the rescue workers he debriefed told him that the message they sent initially was, in essence, "We found all 12 bodies. One is alive." But somehow that became, "We found all 12 bodies. All are alive."

A new transcript of radio communications between two emergency workers reflected the confusion that led to families believing for hours that 12 miners had survived. At 11:48 p.m. Tuesday, an emergency worker said, "They did find them, and they're all O.K. I guess, so, I think we might be transporting them."

When told 12 miners were being rescued, the emergency worker asked, "And they're all alive?"

"Uh, as far as I know," the other replied.

In the chaos, a debate emerged over what to tell the families, if anything. Mr. O'Dell said he urged officials to tell the families there was a problem. "We were sick in there knowing there was a celebration going on outside," he said. "There was a moral obligation for the company to step up."

But company officials said they did not want to upset the families with incomplete information, and they dispatched another rescue team into the mine to double check the condition of the miners, which took another two hours.

Sometime after 2:30 a.m., company officials notified families at the church that only one man had survived. The church exploded in anger.

It was not clear what position state and federal officials, who were theoretically in charge of the rescue operation, took in the debate. But Ms. Ramsburg defended the decision to wait.

"The company was honestly trying to make sure they had the most accurate information to pass on to these families," she said.

The Baptist church in Sago grew quiet after the bodies were brought out and taken to a local school, where relatives identified them.

Some relatives received notes found with the men. Mr. Toler wrote in uneven block letters, "Tell all - I see them on the other side. Jr."

Along Route 20, the main road from Sago to Buckhannon, businesses edited signs that days before had expressed hope for a miracle. "God Has 12 New Angels," said the sign outside the Go-Mart on Friday.

At the church, journalists were largely gone on Friday. The mud their wheels had churned up in the driveway had disappeared under a fresh load of gravel: the first hint of repair in a community that remained broken.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2006 11:52 am 
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it is crazy that if they put on their self rescuers and walked back twards the explosion they could have just walked right out to the fresh air only 1500 feet away and right out of the mine. but they did what they were trained to do, and it cost them their lives. i wouldnt think to walk back to the blast, but oh well, its just one more chilling fact to this story.

chris

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