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(JSOnline)   Rescuer's drill breaks, halting Pennsylvania miner rescue attempts.   ( divider line
    More: Followup  
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1932 clicks; posted to Main » on 26 Jul 2002 at 9:17 AM (15 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

42 Comments     (+0 »)
2002-07-26 09:18:43 AM  
Why don't they just SCUBA into the mine?
2002-07-26 09:19:55 AM  
Probably impossible if not too dangerous, Jormal. I hope I'm wrong, but I'm beginning to feel like this is going to end very, very badly.
2002-07-26 09:20:04 AM  

I had the same thoughts.

How many of the 9 does anyone think will be alive when they finally get through?
2002-07-26 09:23:34 AM  
Oh fark. They're screwed.
2002-07-26 09:24:23 AM  
Do you think they are still alive?
2002-07-26 09:24:34 AM  
that really, really sucks. i hate whoever made those maps they were using.
2002-07-26 09:25:13 AM  
Once the air and water finally mix, it could be disasterous. They're already trying to be extremely careful as it is. This drill hangup is very distressing.
2002-07-26 09:25:59 AM  
Should be the

"Chinese Steel" tag..
2002-07-26 09:26:30 AM  
I have a feeling it has already ended badly and they just aren't telling us. They said the water temperature that these guys are in is about 45 to 50 degrees...and they are up to their necks in it basically. Hypothermia only takes about an hour or so to really set in good in water at that temperature so I would imagine this will have a bad result no matter what happens with the drill.
2002-07-26 09:26:55 AM  
The shaft they are in is only 4 feet high.
Not a lot of room for water to co-exist.
The speed of the rescue attempt and what they have accomplished is impressive, imho, but I fear for the worst.
2002-07-26 09:29:19 AM  
another bit was being flown in by helicopter.

Wouldn't they have a backup bit on-hand?

Sorry, but whatever tapping noise they're hearing is probably just caused by water movement. Unless these guys found a spot out of the water, I don't see how they could have possibly survived this long.
2002-07-26 09:30:40 AM  
All I know is, if it's me down there, keep farking digging.
2002-07-26 09:32:50 AM  
The last times they heard anything was at around noon yesterday, according to CNN.
2002-07-26 09:39:35 AM  
going on 24 hours with no is probably over. But then again people have been pulled outta colapsed buildings after 8 days, and revived after 3 days of hyprothermia. I say they dig like mad, best case they save a few or all of the men, Worse case at least they have bodies for funerals.
2002-07-26 09:42:22 AM  

You beat me to it. Why the hell do they not have an extra bit? I mean, I'm sure the bits aren't hella common, but they must have had a clue that there was a decent chance it would break. I'm with you guys, I think it's already ended very badly/sadly, but aren't telling us, or else they would probably be in more of a rush.
2002-07-26 09:44:16 AM  
This reminds me a lot of the Kursk (?). It fits pretty well with the idea of an action movie - the suspense and frantic work to get things done. Unfortunately, "on the razor's edge" situations often work out for the worst in real life.
2002-07-26 09:44:23 AM  
I still think they should try to SCUBA into the mine. People do underwater caves all the time. Even if they are a mile and a half from the entrance, if they pull enough tanks with them, divers could make it to their location. I know visibility is probably poor, but it's a mapped mine, not an unexplored cave. And it would be much safer for the miners than the gamble they are taking with the fluctuations in pressure that will occur when they break through in to mine with the drill bit. They should at least try. They can always turn back if it gets too risky.
2002-07-26 09:45:56 AM  
I think rushing it is a bad idea. As I said, there is an issue with breaking through and having air rush in... There are people there constantly surveying the situation to be sure that when/if they reach them, they won't kill them if they are still alive.

Nah, they're not keeping anything from us. Those people are trying to rescue their own. If it was me, I'd work as quickly, yet as CAREFULLY as possible. I'd hate to kill them while trying to save them.
2002-07-26 09:48:10 AM  
I'm sure they've thought of scuba. They decided aginst it for some reason. I wonder what their reasoning against it could be... Does anyone have any thoughts on that?
2002-07-26 09:49:59 AM  
Last I heard they are still working hard on it, my grandparents live in Somersot which is 6 miles south of the mine that collapsed. The new equipment that they need all went up under police escort from other sites in PA, as well as West Virginia. I'm not sure, but I would assume a 3 foot wide drill bit is very expensive and might even be custom made. If that's the case the manufacturer might not have had any extras to just send them right away, they might have to hand make it, or they might've had to go back and try to figure out who in the area had one that they could get their hands on. So I'm sure they were already working on finding another bit before the first one broke, and they just hadn't gotten their hands on it yet.
2002-07-26 09:50:25 AM  
Want to know what the most dangerous sport in the world is?
Cave/Spring Diving.
These guys are over a mile laterally from the vertical shaft.
This water is moving where it did not move before, there is likely a lot of cloudy debris in the water.
Plus I think they referenced that the water caused a cave in, so I think they are blocked anyway.
2002-07-26 09:51:24 AM  
Well since to SCUBA you need tanks/other "bulky" equipment ... maybe there isn't enough space in the mine to get through. From what I've seen on Discovery Channel, some of those mines get couple of feet high in places ... people are on their knees .. or laying down ... shiat like that. That's my guess against the SCUBA
2002-07-26 09:54:15 AM  
What they need is Henry Mulligan and the Mad Scientist Club boys. They Scuba'd in the same situation.

/obscure reference
2002-07-26 10:11:23 AM  
For all those in favor of tryig the scuba, be my guest. Im not willing to swim at least a mile underwater in an unstable coal mine, with odd currents, and literally 0 visibility, on the off chance these guys are alive and arent blocked in by 20 feet of rubble, and then have to try to get 9 injured comatose men back out through the above mentioned problems.
2002-07-26 10:28:06 AM  
sad, I didnt know we still dug for coal.

Why arent robots doing this?
2002-07-26 10:44:06 AM  
Better call Bruce Willis and his team as they know how to deal with broken drill bits.

*Lite humor to break tension, praying for a happy ending*
2002-07-26 10:44:48 AM  
just a random thought here; you can't sleep if you're in water - you also can't pass out, etc. so if it's going on 24+ hours with no food etcetc god help them
2002-07-26 10:46:09 AM  
Automation isn't totally automated, BigHonky. From what little I've seen of modern coal mining, most of the automation is very limited...coal miners go in, set up a drill/other-thingy-I-can't-name, and let it run for a while, then miners return to move the drill forward fifteen feet, rinse, repeat? Hmmm. Maybe How stuff works has an answer?
2002-07-26 11:03:09 AM  
Why don't they have an extra bit? Because:

1. They are probably very expensive
2. This machine is not normally used as a rescue machine, so a breakdown normally would just be an inconvenience
3. They rushed the machine in there when the accident occured. They might have just been able to scrounge together what they needed at the time.

Scuba? Maybe, but the risk to the rescuers might be more than the benefit gained in the rescue. No light, coupled with divers that probably wouldn't be familiar with the tunnels, would be very dangerous for them.
2002-07-26 11:17:28 AM  
This sounds about as awful as when the Kursk sank. Mining is dangerous, shiatty work. It was probably the best thing that happened to Pennsylvania though (especially the Northeast, where I live) since coal and railroading is pretty much the only thing that brought us out of the farm age.

There was a similar disaster here that pretty much ended mining.​Wolensky .htm
2002-07-26 11:22:48 AM  
Getting a miner stuck in a shaft is better than getting a shaft stuck in a minor.
2002-07-26 11:56:57 AM  
Expense as an excuse is bull. We're talking lives here.
If they rushed a machine in, they could have just as easily rushed in an extra bit or two.
2002-07-26 11:59:08 AM  
I agree.
2002-07-26 12:00:33 PM  
Why dont they stick a video camera down the hole?
2002-07-26 12:02:43 PM  
The poor guys...imagine how scary that must be?
2002-07-26 01:05:24 PM  
They started it up again about 10 minutes ago. well got the bit loose. Starting it up again may take some time, they got the 2nd drill kickin though.
2002-07-26 01:18:31 PM  
this is as exciting as another little girl getting kidnapped!
2002-07-26 01:33:10 PM  
I don' think that SCUBA is an option. They're 240 feet below the surface, so the pressure is enormous. In fact, they now have a hyperbaric chamber from the navy at the site for when they hopefully pull the guys out.
2002-07-26 02:52:00 PM  
I ache for the victims and their families. Perhaps some will be saved from such a horrible experience. They have my prayers.
2002-07-26 03:36:31 PM  
I'm not saying that the expense is not worth it right now, but they might not have bought a backup in the first place. Let's consider that they probably spent a few million on the machine, and a large amount on the bit. It is repairable, so they just bought one, and figured when they break it, they will fix it. They probably never assumed that they would need this bit to rescue people in a hurry. Now they need to locate a replacement bit for this, and rush it in. Last I heard, they were doing just that, but it takes more than just a couple hours to get a huge bit to them. It's not like someone can drop one off at the local Fedex and overnight it.
2002-07-26 03:42:06 PM  
I feel really bad for these guys and their families as well. It is so sad to hear things like this happen.

On the idea of a camera down the hole, I don't think they have a hole directly to the area where they are trapped, or they would have done just that. Also, if they did have a hole right to where they were trapped, the water that flooded the tunnel would push the air straight out that hole, and then they would have no air. The lack of a hole is what is holding the air in there.

I'm sure that the rescuers are working as hard as they can to get these guys out.
2002-07-27 02:12:38 AM  
Does anyone know if those rebreathers the coal miners always keep on hand for emergencies can work under water?

Maybe they tried to find their own way out, using their rebreathers underwater.
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