Monday, August 20, 2007

When the coal hits the fan

HUNTINGTON, Utah - A mine company attorney said Monday that safety experts believe drilling a bigger hole and sending a rescue capsule into the coal mine where six men have been trapped for two weeks is impossible because the mountain is too unstable.
On Friday, I said the that the families of those trapped miners are going to want closure. Now that they’ve drilled 4 holes in two weeks and there’s still no sign of life, the mine company appears to have given up on the search. Do you smell something? **sniff – sniff – sniff** Lawsuit.
The families demanded that rescuers immediately begin drilling a 30-inch hole into which a rescue capsule could be lowered. Spokesman/lawyer Sonny Olsen said the families believe it is "The safest and most effective method to rescue their loved ones. If rescue is not possible," he added, "the capsule is the only method to recover our loved ones so that they can have a proper burial."
There we go again with the “proper burial” stuff. Our society is fixated on the burial. As far as I’m concerned, those men are already buried, proper or not. Leave them alone. Besides, how are they going to get into a rescue capsule? They already know that there’s something like 11% oxygen down there, so even if they had food and water, they couldn’t breathe. It seems selfish to want a ceremony and the accompanying funeralities [I made up a word], because I guarantee you that it is of no benefit to the miners and may only result in more death. Grieving families are not given to rational thought.
It sounds to me as if the families are playing the “negligence” angle, trying to show that the mine company isn’t doing (or hasn’t done) everything it can to rescue them. There will be a dollar sign attached to that soon.
If tunneling doesn't restart, part of the mine will have been turned into a tomb. Despite that, there is recoverable coal in other parts of the 5,000-acre mine, and the company expected to resume operations at some point. Bob Murray, chief executive of Murray Energy Corporation, said he didn't discuss that prospect with family members.

A Coal Haiku:
coal is a good reason
to drill another hole.

But people are not,
until lawyers get involved.
Then, it’s the right thing.

And drill he will, because there is money in that hole. How about this for a job you don’t want: Hold a meeting with the families of the trapped miners and tell them that not only are you not going to go down and pull out their lifeless bodies, you are going to resume drilling for coal. Should they happen to stumble on one of your loved ones, they’ll try to be careful.
And, it gets worse…
"It's an unsafe activity," Murray Energy Corp. lawyer Chris Van Bever said, commenting a day after relatives of the six miners pleaded for rescue efforts to continue. The mine company’s attorney has begun to speak for the hole. You know there is trouble when attorneys get involved. If you ever needed a spokesman for a hole, an attorney would seem to be the ideal choice.
Let’s recap:
We have (1) trapped miners who are more than likely not alive, (2) Grieving family members who want them pulled out by whatever means possible, (3) A mine company that isn’t willing to go back into the hole unless it is to retrieve more coal, (4) A corporate lawyer and (5) A lawyer/spokesman for the families.
This will drag out so long that there will be more coal made before it is resolved.


kimmyk said...

I think it would be nice to have those men out of that hole and given a funeral and those families given closure. But not at the expense of losing more lives.

When people do that sort of job they know the risk going in...just like our soldiers.

Sparky Duck said...

and not even just a lawyer spokesman for the families, but a personal injury lawyer/spokesman

Kate Michele said...

It all comes down to putting a dollar sign on your loved ones can you do that? There isn't enough money in the world to make up for the loss of one of my loved ones...God forbid something like that should ever happen....

Thats like sueing the goverment because your loved one was killed over in Iraq....

Ladyred said...

At first I thought you were going to preach on how they need to do everything possible....etc. So I'm glad it wasn't a sermon.

Now I can understand the need to get in there and get those guys out, but they are only GUESSING at where they even are! And it's not like it is an open shaft, because well I mean the thing collapsed, so they have to drill through the mine and THEN on the crap that fell in. I'm not saying it's impossible, but hell they've drilled a lot already with nothing but another collapse.

Now it is a business as well. If the other shafts can be used to retrieve more coal, why shouldn't they? They could probably do both, I mean instead of just banging out holes in "possible areas" of where the men were, just do a methodical dig. I'm sorry to say, but it is highly probable that the men are not alive (as you stated about the O2 levels) and plus with being crushed most likely on top of that.

But I think the company and its mines need some serious inspection/scrutinizing. Yes the work is dangerous, but with all the fines and violations, they should be accountable for some of the issues and fix them or close down. Yes the men know the dangers of the work, but the cheap company should not make the dangers worse by cutting corners and not keeping it up to code.

Why does it take a tragedy to even THINK about making a change? (that is rhetorical)