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Briefing on Rescue Attempts for Six Trapped Utah Miners
Aired August 7, 2007 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DOUG BUCHANAN, 9 NEWS NOW: It's still not clear where or how the news of her untimely death first surfaced although a computer somewhere is suspected. But the aftermath quickly led to the end of social security and Medicaid benefits and canceled credit cards.
ORR (ph): They address it to me and then they tell me they're sorry I'm dead. Go figure that one.
BUCHANAN: All the paperwork she's collected indicates that Miss Orr (ph) she passed away on April 9th. She actually didn't find out until a full three months later when the pharmacist here called her at home and informed her that she was dead.
ORR (ph): She said, Miss Orr (ph), I'd really hate to tell you this but you're listed as dead. I said I'm what?
BUCHANAN: Alive and kicking from Annapolis, Doug Buchanan, 9 news now.
TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning again, everyone. You're with CNN. You're informed. I'm Tony Harris.
HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Hi everybody. I'm Heidi Collins. Developments keep coming into the CNN NEWSROOM on this Tuesday, the Seventh of August. Here's what's on the run down.
The latest information from authorities in Utah. A briefing on six trapped coal miners any minute now.
HARRIS: Imagine this, three friends lined up, shot in the head execution style. This hour we will talk live with the chief prosecutor in Newark.
COLLINS: A blistering heat wave, settling in over the eastern third of the U.S. Hot and bothered in the NEWSROOM.
Rescue efforts in Utah. Trapped miners out of reach. Will they run out of time? An official update is coming shortly. You see the live shot turned on those microphones there. We will bring that to you just as soon as it happens. Meanwhile, our Dan Simon is near Huntington, Utah now with the very latest. Good morning to you once again, Dan.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Heidi. Again, we're waiting to hear from the authorities. This news conference an hour and a half now behind schedule. I'm not sure what, if anything, we can read into that. Perhaps the authorities are simply trying to get the latest up to date information and bring it to us. Again, we will bring that to you live as soon as it happens. It's been now a little more than 30 hours since this terrible accident happened. 30 hours of agony for these families, waiting to hear the fate of their loved ones. It's believed that these miners, Heidi, are 1,500 feet below the surface, about three or four miles to the entrance of the mine. Crews at this hour are using heavy machinery, heavy drills to reach the miners. It's not clear when they will get to them. The owner of this mine says it could take as long as two or three days. Take a look.
ROBERT MURRAY, PRES. & CEO, MURRAY ENERGY: We will be here on our feet until we get these men out, one way or the other. But I've got to tell you, it could be two or three days.
SIMON: One positive piece of news, Heidi, if the miners are still alive, it's believed that they would have enough air and water to last several days. Let me give you a sense of the kinds of conditions that they're facing. We're talking total pitch black conditions. Obviously, sunny out here but inside they can't see other than if they use their flashlights. And they have to be very mindful about conserving the batteries in their flashlights. And of course, no communication whatsoever with the outside world. No cell phones. No walkie-talkies. And for the folks of this community, for the relatives out there, that's what's so agonizing. They really have no idea what has happened to these six men.
COLLINS: I just can't imagine the agony in trying to wait to learn more. We are doing the same thing here, just waiting for the officials to come to that microphone. We know we will have the sheriff and also the CEO of Murray Energy. That is the company that operates the mine. Robert Murray will come to the microphone at some point very soon here. We're watching this for you. We will bring it to you live. Dan Simon, thanks so much. Live reporting for us from Huntington, Utah this morning.
HARRIS: And just last hour, a court appearance for two suspects in a gruesome Connecticut home invasion. Joshua Komisarjevsky and Steven Hayes did not enter pleas. They face capital felony charges. Prosecutors say they will seek the death penalty. Police say the pair held a family hostage for hours and then set their house on fire. Investigators say Jennifer Hawk-Petit was raped, then strangled. Her two daughters tied to beds. They died of smoke inhalation. The father was beaten but escaped. Several family members attended today's proceeding. The next hearing, September 18th.
COLLINS: We've been following developments out of Newark, New Jersey this morning as well. Four friends shot, execution-style, three killed. And still no arrests. Our Allan Chernoff is in New York now with the very latest on all of this. Good morning to you, Allan.
ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning Heidi. New Jersey's biggest city has been fighting an epidemic of killings. What happened over the weekend has the city in shock. Three college students shot in the back of the head execution style in the school yard. The investigation relies heavily on the sole survivor, 19-year- old Natasha Aerial who was shot in the face. CNN has learned her condition has been upgraded to stable. She is at a Newark hospital where she has been able to provide some detail to the police although she remains heavily medicated. Other leads, knife wounds to at least one of the victims and broken jewelry on the scene, indicating to police that the students were being robbed.
(BEGIN VIDE CLIP)
GARRY MCCARTHY, NEWARK POLICE DIRECTOR: We have nothing in this investigation to date that indicates anything more than a random robbery. There may have been resistance during the robbery that caused the violence to escalate. It's still not clear. But at this point, absolutely nothing, especially in the victims' backgrounds would indicate any sort of wrongdoing that they would be targeted for anything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHERNOFF: The three victims, Terrence Aerial, Dashon Harvey and Iofemi Hightower were students at Delaware State University, which Newark officials say makes this killing especially tragic. They were good kids who had avoided the kind of trouble that has ensnared so many Newark teens. James Harvey, the father of Dashon is pleading to his fellow citizens, stop the killing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES HARVEY, FATHER OF SHOOTING VICTIM: Innocent kids, innocent people are dying needlessly, unnecessarily and for what?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHERNOFF: Tragically that's a cry often heard in Newark. So far, the city has had very little success in reducing the murder rate.
COLLINS: In fact it's a problem that they've been fighting in Newark for a long, long time, Allan. I know that there is a relatively new mayor, Corey Booker. He's been the mayor for 13 months. What is the anger or blame that is being pointed toward him?
CHERNOFF: Well, Booker himself had promised to bring down that murder rate to make the streets of Newark safer. And in fact, city officials have been trumpeting the fact that the crime rate overall has gone down. Fewer robberies, safer streets but when it comes to killings, the numbers are almost as bad as last year when we did have a record in fact 60. So far this year, 60 people killed compared to 63 at this point last year. So the killings go on. And it is just incredibly, incredibly frustrating to the city. There are more cops on the streets. They are cracking down on quality of life issues. The same strategy used in New York City but so far, Newark it's not working.
COLLINS: All right. Well, we're going to be talking a little bit later. Allan Chernoff, thanks so much for that from our New York bureau. We are going to be talking with the prosecutor in this case. He's going to give us an update on the investigation; put some of those questions to her as well in just a moment.
HARRIS: A new focus this morning for investigators in that Minnesota bridge collapse. Teams of FBI and Navy divers now part of the search for victims. They've brought with them a small unmanned submarine to navigate the wreckage. Eight people still missing. Rebuilding efforts also moving ahead this morning. Designers and buildings up against a deadline. They must show by tomorrow they're qualified to bid on the reconstruction project. State officials hoping the new bridge can be built by the end of next year. Seems ambitious. And you know they're getting some help. President Bush signing a bill to waive a limit on federal relief funds. It provides $250 million for the work in Minneapolis. And tonight, a moment of silence for the victims, 6:05 p.m., the exact time the bridge collapsed last Wednesday.
COLLINS: Temperatures so hot it is dangerous to be outside. Much of the central and eastern U.S. now in the grips of a brutal heat wave. St. Louis, Atlanta, Washington, New York, some of the major cities in the danger zone. And it could be days before there is any relief.
HARRIS: Some people taking a beating from the heat. You can imagine the power grids taking a beating. Not long before we're talking about brownout conditions, I would guess here, Jacqui.
JACQUI JERAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, let's hope not. Keep your air conditioner at a reasonable level may be a good idea today and save the laundry and things for another day.
COLLINS: That's no problem. Not a problem.
JERAS: It piles this high.
COLLINS: That's a regular thing anyway.
JERAS: The heat really is the big story today, gripping so much of the nation. At least a third, at least, that's a minimum dealing with excessive conditions. You know those temperatures that you showed on the map we really have to add on 5 plus degrees on top of that to get a real accurate picture of the temperature that your body is feeling. Now, these numbers that we're looking at here; this is what we call the forecast heat index. The temperature your body feels because of the heat and humidity combined. And this will be at its peak this afternoon. This will be incredible numbers. It will feel like 111 in Memphis, 117 in Houston. Look at St. Louis, 108. 105 in Cinci and even Washington, D.C. it will be feeling like 103. That is dangerous for everybody. Don't overdo it today. Just stay in with the moderate AC and don't do your laundry. Watch CNN. We have a live picture to show you out of the Nashville area at this hour. Beautiful city, beautiful looking day. But don't be fooled. It already feels like 94 out there already. 100 degrees on the thermometer will be hit later on this afternoon. Heat advisory in effect for the rest of the week. And your cool down comes into play on Saturday, Nashville, down to 98. But I wanted to cheer you up a little bit. You seem so bummed about this heat. Check out Philadelphia here, by Friday and Saturday, beautiful, into the 80s. But we want to know how everybody is keeping cool in this heat. So send us your I-reports of what you're doing to stay cool. CNN.com CNN.com/i-report and we'll get some on the air later today.
COLLINS: And not to be self centered or anything but how are we supposed to cheer up knowing in Philadelphia it's going to be 86?
JERAS: Well, we'll be down to say 90 here in Atlanta by the weekend. That's not so bad.
COLLINS: That's cool.
HARRIS: I'm a little concerned about the I-reports. It could get whacky.
JERAS: Keep them clean, folks.
HARRIS: There you go.
COLLINS: We'll put the funny ones on for sure. Jacqui, thanks so much.
HARRIS: We've got some rain in Montana, a big wildfire, too close for comfort. People in the town of Seeley Lake on edge as the flames move ever closer. They could be ordered to leave their homes at any moment. Near the town almost 700 homes already sit empty. The blaze has burned more than 14,000 acres. That's about 22 square miles.
COLLINS: Senator Hillary Clinton pulling ahead. That from a new pole from US Today and Gallup. Here are the numbers. Take a look. 48 percent of Democrats and Democratic leaning independents back Clinton. That's up over eight percent over last month. Senator Barack Obama was second with 26 percent. John Edwards had 12 percent. In a head-to-head race, Clinton was preferred over Obama, 69 percent to 36 percent. Now for the Republican side, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani is out front with the 33 percent. Former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson, 21 percent even though he is not officially a candidate. Senator John McCain is at 16 percent and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney was fourth with eight percent.
HARRIS: Can you imagine being a construction worker, one of the hard hot guys? Sweating out the heat wave as you just heard from Jacqui, likely to be doing there for a couple of days to come. A blanket of hot air wrapped over a their of the country. We will check back in with Jacqui in just a couple of minutes.
COLLINS: The price is right. A supermarket chain now offering some prescription drugs for free.
HARRIS: His son murdered. A distraught father absolutely loses it in court. A family's pain on public view.
COLLINS: Trapped by floodwaters, rescuing thousands of people driven from their homes. But many don't want to go. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
COLLINS: Survivor stories, we have heard a lot of them in the days since that bridge collapse in Minnesota. A few minutes ago our Susan Roesgen talked to a woman with an amazing story. Heather Behinden heard a report about the disaster as the news broke last week. She called her boyfriend to warn him to stay away from the bridge. He said he was on it. Have a listen.
SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Heather, your boyfriend's jeep is over there.
HEATHER BEHINDEN (ph): Yes, right over there.
ROESGEN: What did he tell you? You're on the cell phone with him and he says I'm on it. What happened? What did he feel when the bridge collapsed?
BEHINDEN (ph): He said that he heard a big boom and his friend and him looked at each other and said what was that? He said he saw the 35W bridge sign that says Hiawatha and Washington Avenue fall down like an elevator. He looked at his friend and all the sudden they saw the bridge collapse and the cars go into the river and his friend said, get out of the car. The bridge started shaking. His friend jumped out of the car. Adam stayed in the car in shock and the bridge collapsed, dropped 20 feet.
ROESGEN: You've told me now that he doesn't want to see the wreckage.
BEHINDEN (ph): He doesn't want to see it.
ROESGEN: So you've come to see it because he's too traumatized?
BEHINDEN (ph): Yes. He doesn't know how to deal with it. It finally hit reality yesterday about what's going on and doesn't want to be down there yet.
ROESGEN: How did your son take it?
BEHINDEN (ph): He took it fine. He was a little nervous at first but I reassured him that his dad was OK and that his dad was a superhero because he saved two people's lives and survived it himself.
HARRIS: Kids need a superhero dad, that's for sure. Remarkable stories. We're keeping an eye out for them. And we will keep bringing them to you.
COLLINS: New studies out today on binge drinking. The adult beverage of choice, beer. 75 percent of adult binge drinkers say they prefer it. 17 percent chose the hard stuff. Nine percent go for the wine. The study looked at adults who had five or more drinks at a time. In a separate study on teens, beer comes in second behind liquor. Researchers think they swipe it from their parents liquor cabinets. HARRIS: Free drugs. A deal well you just can't beat. Jus go to any Publix Supermarket pharmacy and you can get a 14-day supply of seven commonly prescribed antibiotics absolutely free. There's no limit. You just need a doctor's prescription. Other retailers offer discounted drug programs. Publix says it is the first large regional chain to offer the drugs for free. And to get your "DAILY DOSE" of health news online, logon to our website. There you'll find the latest medical news, a health library and information on diet and fitness. The address, CNN.com/health.
COLLINS: Three teens killed execution style in Newark. The chief prosecutor gives us an update on the investigation.
ROBERT MURRAY, PRES. & CEO MURRAY ENERGY: (in progress): About an hour and a half behind the time that I told you we would meet.
HARRIS: Bob Murray the President & CEO of Murray Energy Corporation, the news conference in Emery County is underway.
MURRAY: And I also wanted to go to where we have the families of the trapped miners questions answered and meet with them this morning and give them a report and to answer any questions that they have and to administer to their needs and I'm sure you can understand the importance of doing that. A prepared press release which we will give out after my presentation.
The gentleman joining me now is Mr. Al Davis. Mr. Davis is the district manager of the Mine Safety and Health Administration in Denver, Colorado. Mr. Davis in charge of all coal mine safety in the western United States. A professional life time safety manager. And you will hear from Mr. Davis later. For those of you that were not here for my five or so interviews yesterday and it became sort of a problem last night for the ones that had the earlier interviews and heard what I said then, I'll repeat some of that. So that you have the complete picture.
As I said, my name is Bob Murray. I'm the founder, chairman, president of a company called Murray Energy Corporation. I built the company starting with a mortgaged home; the United States of America's a great country. And today we have 3,300 employees in five states. We produce a product that is essential to the standard of living of every American, because our coal produces 52 percent of the energy in America today and it is the lowest cost energy, costing one-third to one-fourth the cost of energy from natural gas, nuclear and renewable resources.
And without coal to manufacture our electricity, our products will not compete in the global marketplace against foreign countries, because our manufacturers depend on coal, low-cost electricity and people on fixed incomes will not be able to pay their electric bills. And every one of these global warming bills that has been introduced in Congress today to eliminate the coal industry and will increase your electric rates four to five-fold. So we are an essential industry. Many like to think we're an old industry. Indeed we're a very high-tech industry. and when this tragedy is all over, I extend an invitation to all of you to join me and go underground in one of our coal mines right here in Utah. So that you can see for yourself what we do, which is essential to the American economy. Please accept my offer and join these working men and women to see what they do so you'll have a better understanding.
First, I want to report that the families are doing fine. Considering the circumstances. This is a tragedy for them, it's a tragedy for America, it's a tragedy for me. But we've been telling the people the truth. We've been telling the people the truth. And we've been keeping the families well informed and administering to their needs.
Now back to Murray Energy Corporation. Murray Energy that I founded 20 years ago and let me tell you something else. This is the first major accident I've ever had in one of my coal mines in 20 years of being in existence, the first major accident. And this was caused by an earthquake, not something that Murray Energy or Utah American did or our employees did or our management did. Or that the Mine Safety and Health Administration did. It was a natural disaster. An earthquake. And I'm going to prove it to you this morning because there seems to be a lot of speculation by some of you in the media that it was not an earthquake. I will prove it to you in this interview. Murray Energy owns a company called Utah American Energy, Inc. Utah American Energy, Inc. owns this mine, the Crandall Canyon mine. It is jointly owned with the Intermountain Power Agency. They operate a huge power plan the at Delta Utah and they export coal into California and many western states, particularly in Utah. Murray Energy, Utah American only own one-half of this coal mine. Intermountain Power Agency owns the other half of the mine. But we at Utah American are responsible for operating the mine.
I don't have much hair, but I've been doing this for 50 years, mining coal. That's all I know. I've had men die in my arms. I've been trapped in the mines. I've been caught in mine fires. And I'm going to let what little hair I have down with you right now. I don't know whether these miners are alive or dead. Only the lord knows that. If they're dead, the shock of the earthquake, the concussions killed them. And they died instantly. That's one scenario. The other scenario is they're very much alive and we're going to rescue them. Now, the lord has already decided whether they're alive or dead and whether they were killed from the percussion from the earthquake.
But it's up to Bob Murray and my management to get the access to them as quickly as we can. And I ask for your patience when I make you wait an hour or an hour and a half to hear word. You have a right to know, the American people have the right to know, and I respect journalists who want to report the truth. And I'm always going to give it to you as I know it.
So the Lord has determined already whether they're dead or alive from the percussion of the earthquake. But it's my job to get to them as quickly as possible and find out. And I will not leave this mine until those men are rescued, dead or alive, nor have I, except to visit with the families and keep them informed.
I want to tell you that in spite of the exhaustive efforts of Utah American, Murray Energy and the Federal Mine Safety and Health Administration to date, I'm disappointed, disappointed with our progress in gaining access to these trapped miners. But, of course, to us progress is never fast enough in a situation like this.
To gain access to these miners we've undertaken five, five, different courses of action to rescue them. We know exactly where the miners are. The Federal Mine Safety and Health Administration knows, our companies know. They are 1,500 feet underground. They are 2,000 feet from the closest access to them. And they are 17,000 feet back from the entrance of the mine.
Let me outline the five programs that Murray Energy, Utah American and Mine Safety and Health Administration have undertaken to rescue these men. First, over 30 pieces of massive mining equipment, and you that were here all day, and thank you for your patience, have seen the trucks going by hauling tens of thousands of tons of mining machinery in here. Over 30 different pieces of mining machinery. I have them listed in the attachment to this press release.
The machinery that has been brought in, not the machinery we already had here, but the machinery that Murray Energy gathered up from our other mines around the country and other mines in Utah and brought in here to rescue these men. We have spared nothing in that regard. You have seen it come and go. I'll have a list of it for you, tens of thousands of tons of machinery.
Plus Murray Energy and Utah American have 134 men dedicated to the recovery of these miners right now, 24 hours, around the clock, 134 people. The mine only employed about 71 people. These 134 people are not from this mine, mostly, they're from other mines, that have come in, who are professionals to rescue these miners. We've had as many as 12 mine-rescue teams here, but we decided it was more efficient to operate with six rescue teams, and that's how many we have now. Two of these teams are from our company, Utah American Energy.
Using these machinery, the tens of thousands of tons, the 134 men, we've only moved 310 feet closer to these trapped miners from where we started -- 310 feet. We only achieved 50 feet last night because of geotechnical problems and geological problems that forced our miners out of the mine.
I was out in the mine yard at 4:00 a.m., and all of a sudden out of the mine came the employees. I said, what's going on here? And he said, Mr. Murray, we had to get them out, we're having -- and I'll label it as engineer tectonic forces and falls in the mine, and we had to stop the progress towards the trapped miners. We have let that settle down and our people are back in there now, progressing towards the miners.
The progress has been too slow, too slow. It will take, ladies and gentlemen, three days, if everything goes right, to get to these miners. At that time we will know whether they are alive or dead. If the miners survived the concussion of the earthquake and the shocks in the mine and the damage to the mine, we'll rescue them alive. Because there is plenty of air in there for them to survive for weeks and there's water, but we don't know. We'll know in three days.
I have attached to our press release a report of the University of Utah seismograph statements -- stations. It's attached, not in my words, but in their letterhead, in their words.
If that's another media helicopter, I would ask for those of you, like yesterday, who are responsible for it being here to please have it removed immediately. And I will stop until you remove it.
Sheriff, we're going to have to let the controllers know that we cannot have these...
To repeat, the University of Utah seismograph stations report that an earthquake measuring 4.0 on the Richter Scale occurred at 2:48 a.m., Mountain Daylight Time on August 6th. The epicenter of the earthquake they located at 5,000 feet, south of where these miners were working. They reported that the depth of the earthquake was one mile.
Now, our employees were only at 1,500 feet. The shockwaves came from 5,280 feet deep. It could not have resulted from the mine, 3,500 feet higher.
Moreover, the United States Geological Survey reports that the hypocenter of the earthquake was five miles deep. The United States Geological Survey Reports that. Five miles deep, 4.3 miles deeper than where our men were. That's where the earthquake originated, not in the coal mine, and 5,000 feet to the south as best we can locate it.
Furthermore, it is reported by these authorities that the initial quake at 2:48 a.m. on August 6th lasted for about 4.3 minutes. Bumps that we incur in mining are instantaneous and don't last 4.3 minutes. It was an earthquake.
If this were not enough, two hours and 30 minutes -- have the sheriff stop all this traffic until I'm done. I can't progress like this. Stop it all until I'm done. There's no emergency here.
Sheriff, stop everybody until I'm done, please!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll do it.
MURRAY: Get her done. Yes, thank you. I'm sorry, ladies and gentlemen. I apologize. But I know you can't hear over that.
As I was starting to say, 2 hours and 30 minutes after the initial earthquake at 2:48 a.m., there was a second earthquake, an aftershock it's called. It was about 2.0 on the Richter Scale. The earlier one being about 4.0, about 4.0. That lasted 2 minutes and 39 seconds in duration. With mountain bumps, there are not aftershocks. With mountain bumps, there is no duration. This was an earthquake. Contrary to what others would like you to believe, it had nothing to do with our mining activity.
All mining activities in the Crandall Canyon Mine were in compliance with all laws and in accordance with all mining plans that were approved by the regulatory agencies, including Mr. Davis', the Federal Mine Safety and Health Administration. The mining conditions in that mine were beautiful at the time of the earthquake. The roof conditions were very good. The ribs were solid. The coal was eight feet high. And we were progressing well. And we were in compliance with all laws and a mining plan approved by the federal agencies.
Now, it's been stated and been reported by some of you, that the natural disaster that occurred had something to do with something called retreat mining. This statement is totally false. And the damage in the mine was totally unrelated to any retreat mining.
As -- and I want to emphasize -- the area where these men are is entirely surrounded by solid, firm, strong pillars of coal. There was no retreat mining in the immediate vicinity of these miners. They're totally surrounded by solid coal, pillars that were left from the first mining.
In view of the slow efforts, even with the 134 men and tens of thousands of tons of machinery, to get to these people, which I've said will take a minimum of three days, we've undertaken four other courses of action to try to access these men quicker.
And let me briefly outline them. First, a helicopter with a large drilling rig has set up on the U.S. Forest Service lands on the mountain above the location where these men are trapped. And we're undertaking the drilling today. The only way we could get to this location was with a helicopter. We've mobilized a massive amount of equipment and crews, and they're up there commencing drilling this morning. I just got a report as I approached you here a few minutes ago.
Unfortunately, to get to the men it will take three days with the drilling to get to them. And what will we have when we get there? We'll just have about a two-inch hole into the cavity where they're located. But that's not just a two-inch hole. We can communicate down the hole. We can send air down the hole, ventilate. We can provide sustenance and food to the people down there. So it's important. But that course of action will take three days also.
In view of this we undertook another course of action, and we've been working all night with bulldozers on forest lands, providing roads for a much larger drilling rig that we could bring in by helicopter. And that drilling rig will be working today also. And it will take that drilling rig two days to get to the trapped miners, two days.
We worked all night to get it set up, and the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service have been very cooperative in allowing us to build roads across these isolated wilderness areas. The third course of action has been to locate horizontal drilling in the mine where we drive long distance horizontally in the mine. However, in my opinion it's not going to be an effective course of recovery because of the geological conditions we have and because of the location of the miners, with reference to the other mine workings.
The machinery is here. It's massive. The crews are ready. We have not deployed them because we couldn't use them right now in an effective way. But they are here and the machinery is here, if we find a way to use the machinery.
Yesterday in conjunction with the Mine Safety and Health Administration, we broke into Old Workings in the way that I thought we could get to the men in 24 hours. Opening up all seals, rescue teams going in on apparatus and going down parallel old mine entries to get within only 55 feet, 55 feet of where these miners are trapped. As I reported to you last night, it didn't work, much to my disappointment. We broke the seals. I was on the phone constantly with the MSHA professionals and my management listening to their progress underground, every minute, every second, as they progressed behind the seals in an effort to get to the trapped miners.
But because of tectonic forces, because of falls, they were actually driven out of there and they had to evacuate rapidly to protect the safety of the rescuers themselves. That's exactly what happened. These dedicated people went to the point of where MSHA and our company jointly decided, get them out of there. We cannot have another tragedy. It did not work. And I would have reported to you by now that we have accessed those men had it worked, and told you whether they're dead or alive.
I want to emphasize to you again that the families and loved ones of the trapped miners are being continually kept informed and administered to every second by caregivers, crisis managers, that we have hired, and our own management people to see that their every need is taken care of. Please respect their privacy.
It's understood that the folks in the media and all American citizen citizens have a genuine concern please respect their privacy. It's understood that the folks in the media and all American citizen citizens have a genuine concern about the welfare of the trapped miners and their families. However, inaccurate reporting, which has already taken place, does nothing to further the well-being of anyone.
Quite obviously in reporting your stories, your producers and you journalists attempt to seek out individuals to obtain accurate commentary on the misfortune that has occurred here at the Crandall Canyon Mine, specifically I'm referring to statements that you have sought out from Mr. Jay Davitt Mcateer, Tony Oppegard, Dennis O'Dell and president Cecil Roberts, the last two of the united mine workers. These individuals have given very false statements to the media and to America, for their own motives. They know nothing about the natural disaster that occurred here. They know nothing about the damage in the mine and the circumstances surrounding the trapped miners, or the rescue efforts that are under way. And I caution the media to very much question the veracity of these sources and their motivations. I particularly cite Mr. Seth Borenstein of the Associated Press for particularly bad reporting, and as of this morning, the Fox News Network, on what has occurred here.
Rather than utilizing the truthful statements that you heard here, the Associated Press and Mr. Borenstein chose to use statements from Mrs. McAteer, Oppegard, O'Dell and Roberts that were totally false and have nothing to do with or have any understanding of what's happened here.
And this morning, Fox News Network was at it also. I hope you report that. And I will cite to you and every one of these interviews all false reporting that we hear. But I would certainly not depend on the Associated Press and Mr. Borenstein for any truths if I were an American citizen.
Again, I remind you that hundreds of Murray Energy and government employees dedicated, are working around the clock to a responsible, effective and professional rescue effort of these trapped miners. We must expect no less in the reporting from the media. And I respectfully request that you report the truth that you have been told by the company, MSHA and me, and not the speculation from individuals who have no knowledge whatsoever of the earthquake, its after effects, and you have no knowledge of their motivations.
In summary, while our efforts have been exhaustive and have involved everything humanly possible to access these trapped miners, they have been disappointingly too slow, too slow. We're focused at remaining at the Crandall Canyon site until these miners are recovered, dead or alive.
As I've said before, if the percussion and the shocks of the earthquake did not kill them, we have a very good chance of getting them out alive. The lord determined the former. I assure you and all Americans that we will get them out as expeditiously as possible, and we will remain here until they are recovered and the families informed of their status.
Before I take questions, and I will stay and take questions as long as you want to ask them, I would respectfully request that you allow Mr. Al Davis, the district manager of the United Mine Workers of America to make whatever statements he wants.
Remember, my entire statement is in writing. The report of the University of Utah is in writing. The list of machinery that we have brought in is in writing. And so are the numbers of people who were involved in the rescue effort. I prepared that for the families and you so that you would have the truth. You want to report the truth. I haven't met many journalists that don't. But you've got to be careful in situations like this, who you seek out for the truth, because Associated Press, and to some extents, Fox, have not done that.
Mr. Davis? AL DAVIS, MINE SAFETY & HEALTH ADMIN.: My name is Allen Davis. I'm the district manager with the Mine Safety and Health Administration. And I want to talk to you about the events that have occurred here last night.
But I want to say it first, that I'll not get into any conjecture about cause and effect of this mine accident. That's not my purpose here. My purpose here right now is entirely focused on the rescue of these trapped miners. Our agency is charged with investigating all mine accidents, and we will do that. There will be people arrived here when the time is right, to start that work. That investigation will be exhaustive. We'll bring the best expertise to bear to try to get to the exact cause, and we will publish a report on the findings of that investigation.
But right now, we have one purpose that we're focused on. That's rescue.
Now, last night in the wee hours, as the operation was continuing, moving coal and debris, we had a secondary mine bump occur. Now, I want to stress that now this is a mine bump. It's a concussion. It is not the fall of roof, but it did dislodge more coal from the ribs. It's a setback for us. We had to discontinue our process of moving material. There were some aftershocks coming. We removed people to a safe area.
But another thing that occurred was this shock and concussion blew out temporary ventilation controls that we had in place that were delivering the air up to where our rescue people are working.
Now, we have decided to go back and replace those. These were temporary controls. That means they were just that -- they were temporary. They were bradis (ph) cloth material, set with timbers and not very rugged. And now we are going back and replacing those with stoppings that will be much more rugged, and we don't want to have this kind of a delay due to ventilation in the future. That work is ongoing now. And then we have to get back and move some more coal that came down. It's no a great amount, but we can not travel the machinery on top of it. We have to move it out of the way. That process will be back under way again today.
Are there any questions that....
QUESTION: Can you tell us what caused the bums?
DAVIS: No. There's 1,500 feet of overburden here. It's massive sandstone. You can see that in the cliffs around you. That's what we're underneath. That produces a lot of pressure in the mine.
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