With Safety Like This, Who Needs Danger?
Rescue effort continues in collapsed Utah mine called “safe” by owner
The search for survivors continues at a coal mine in central Utah that collapsed early Monday. Four miners escaped the implosion — which was so strong it registered magnitude 3.9 at a nearby seismic station — but six others were trapped about three miles from the Crandall Canyon Mine entrance, some 1,500 feet underground. While rescue teams worked through the night, the facility’s owner defended his operation, which has received upwards of 300 safety citations from federal officials since January 2004. “I believe we run a very safe coal mine,” said Robert Murray, head of Murray Energy. “We’ve had an excellent record.” But the method used there — which involves leaving pillars of coal for structural support and then, as a last step, pulling the pillars to intentionally collapse the roof — is one of the most dangerous types of extraction, federal studies have shown. “You have to be optimistic in a situation like this,” said Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. “Hope is in order — heavy doses of hope.”