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12 Trapped Miners Not Found Alive

Update: What a travesty. Contrary to media reports that 12 of the 13 trapped miners had been found alive, it now turns out only one miner has been saved.

Grief and anger replaced jubilation early Wednesday as mine officials announced that, despite earlier reports, only one of 13 trapped miners had survived a West Virginia mining accident. ate Tuesday, word spread among family members that 12 miners had been found alive at the Sago Mine. Celebrations erupted as church bells rang out.

Hours later, however, some miners' loved ones -- some angry, others silently dejected -- began leaving the community church that had been their sanctuary since the ordeal began Monday morning. What they had to say was unbelievable in light of the earlier news of a "miracle" in the mine.

The few who would talk to the gathered media said mining officials had told them only one of the miners had survived. Mining company officials then confirmed it at a news conference.

How could this have happened?

Hatfield said "miscommunication" between rescue crews and the command center had caused the earlier erroneous reports that 12 miners had survived. In all, 12 miners died, including a man whose body was found closer to the mine entrance Tuesday evening. The sole survivor, Randall McCloy Jr., was in critical condition and being transported Wednesday to West Virginia University Hospital in Morgantown after being stabilized at nearby St. Joseph's Hospital.

This is more than just egg on the face of the media, and an unexcusable slap in the face of the already traumatized family members.

*******
Orig Post Tuesday, 10:14 pm

This is great news. MSNBC is reporting that 12 of the trapped W. Va. miners have been found alive.

Twelve miners caught in an explosion in a coal mine were found alive Tuesday night, more than 41 hours after the blast, family members said. Bells at a church where relatives had been gathering rang out as family members ran out screaming in jubilation.

Earlier, rescue crews found one body late Tuesday in a West Virginia mine where 13 miners were trapped after an explosion, but they held out hope that the others were still alive.

[Via Brad Blog]

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  • Re: 12 Trapped Miners Not Found Alive (none / 0) (#1)
    by chupetin on Tue Jan 03, 2006 at 09:37:27 PM EST
    Best news all day. When I heard that they found one body, I had a premonition that the rest would be OK. Glad it turned out to be true.

    Re: 12 Trapped Miners Not Found Alive (none / 0) (#2)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Jan 03, 2006 at 10:13:50 PM EST
    What wonderful news! When I read that one had been found dead I feared the worst, so I'm greatly relieved to be proved wrong.

    Re: 12 Trapped Miners Not Found Alive (none / 0) (#3)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Jan 03, 2006 at 10:29:33 PM EST
    This is definitely good news. But there seems to have been quite a few underlying problems, with this mine and the industry as a whole that caused this incident. The real tragedy is that we still rely on an incredibly dirty fossil fuel to power our lives, when nuclear is both safer and renewable if used properly. You can find all my reasons for preferring nuclear, as well as commentary about the Chinese coal situation (6500 deaths per year) at Earth Sentinel where you will also find peak oil, renewable energy, and climate change news.

    Re: 12 Trapped Miners Not Found Alive (none / 0) (#4)
    by cpinva on Tue Jan 03, 2006 at 10:38:23 PM EST
    one of the better items i've heard today(tonite). i'm thrilled for them and their families.

    Re: 12 Trapped Miners Not Found Alive (none / 0) (#5)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 12:32:57 AM EST
    Tragically, it appears that the reports were false and there is only one survivor. One is still better than none, though.

    Re: 12 Trapped Miners Not Found Alive (none / 0) (#6)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 12:57:02 AM EST
    Ah, yes. The media-made miracle. Take a story based on a single anonymous and unidentified source and run with it, boys and girls! You'll look good on TV.

    Re: 12 Trapped Miners Not Found Alive (none / 0) (#7)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 02:00:23 AM EST
    I got home past ten Denver time. CNN was replaying Nancy Grace which was three hours (at least) behind which was showing Gloria Vanderbilt's son, Anderson Cooper, in West Virginia. CNN Headline (and Fox News) were both live. Why CNN did not simulcast with Headline, I do not know. They had the "Breaking News" title the whole time. That was bad. But, the whole situation was bad. Evidently, when the correct news was relayed to the families meeting in a church by the company man, fights broke out.

    Re: 12 Trapped Miners Not Found Alive (none / 0) (#8)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 02:48:19 AM EST
    The One True BS:
    Ah, yes. The media-made miracle. Take a story based on a single anonymous and unidentified source and run with it, boys and girls! You'll look good on TV.
    If you want to bash the media, at least find something they did that you can disagree with. Don't just make stuff up. In this case the media simply reported information that the mining/rescue officials had relayed to the family members who were waiting. At the time of the first reports of 12 people being rescued, I think you could have polled a million Americans and not a single one would have objected to the news media broadcasting that piece of good news. Reporters could not have known that the local mine officials had given the families incorrect information. But if you still want to blame the media for propagating misinformation about the mine rescue, I guess you must also be really down on the media for the Iraq war, since they were guilty of publishing Bush's incorrect information about (non-existent) WMD in Iraq. Have you never heard the saying Don't shoot the messenger?

    Re: 12 Trapped Miners Not Found Alive (none / 0) (#9)
    by roxtar on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 06:03:10 AM EST
    The "miscommunication" is a distrction from the fact that it's cheaper to pay fines than it is to provide a safe workplace for coal miners. What are the odds that the talking hair-dos will discuss the fact that the previous owners of this hell-hole went bankrupt to avoid legacy health care benefits to their retirees? And that the new owners jumped at the chance to re-open "union-free." No, we'll just be treated to the misery of simple working folk who have been screwed before, and are getting screwed some more.....

    Re: 12 Trapped Miners Not Found Alive (none / 0) (#10)
    by Edger on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 06:06:19 AM EST
    This really sucks. happy friggin' new year...

    Re: 12 Trapped Miners Not Found Alive (none / 0) (#11)
    by kdog on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 07:20:47 AM EST
    Men like these are the salt of the earth. My sympathies to their families. Hopefully, some good will come from the tragedy, like improved safety standards and maybe some better wages for miners that risk thier lives at work everday. I can't believe these guys only make 700 a week for the work they do.

    Re: 12 Trapped Miners Not Found Alive (none / 0) (#12)
    by Punchy on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 07:46:12 AM EST
    What a travesty. Contrary to media reports that 12 of the 13 trapped miners had been found alive, it now turns out only one minor has been saved. Wow, I figured he was older than 18.

    Re: 12 Trapped Miners Not Found Alive (none / 0) (#13)
    by Dadler on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 07:46:43 AM EST
    Kdog, It's just the good ol' "free" market at work, dontcha know? And that's 700 a week BEFORE taxes. And don't tell me higher pay is going to mean higher prices -- it should come out of the exorbinant profits made by mining companies.

    Re: 12 Trapped Miners Not Found Alive (none / 0) (#14)
    by Slado on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 08:23:52 AM EST
    Exorbinat profits? I would pause before using this tragedy as an excuse to bash capitalism and big buisness. Maybe we should berate anyone who uses the products these men produced because without them there would be no mine. The constant need to blame somebody is something I will never understand. These men had a dangerous job. If the company is blatently guilty of mismanagement or not meeting safety standards then our judicial system will sort that out. But if this is simply a case were a tragic incident occured then it's as improper to pile on big buisness as it is to pile on the media for reporting a story everyone wanted to be true and was already out there.

    Re: 12 Trapped Miners Not Found Alive (none / 0) (#15)
    by Punchy on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 08:39:40 AM EST
    Slado-- From the WP: Time and again over the past four years, federal mining inspectors documented the same litany of problems at central West Virginia's Sago Mine: mine roofs that tended to collapse without warning. Faulty or inadequate tunnel supports. A dangerous buildup of flammable coal dust. That record, as reflected in dozens of federal inspection reports, shows a succession of operators struggling to overcome serious, long-standing safety problems, some of which could be part of the investigation into the cause of the explosion that trapped 13 miners. In the past two years, the mine was cited 273 times for safety violations, of which about a third were classified as "significant and substantial," according to documents compiled by the Labor Department's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). Many were for problems that could contribute to accidental explosions or the collapse of mine tunnels, records show. I'd say they're liable. 273 violations in 2 years? isn't that 1 every 3 days (I know realistically they come in bunches, but still...). So yes, I'm ready to pile on.

    Re: 12 Trapped Miners Not Found Alive (none / 0) (#16)
    by Andreas on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 08:46:30 AM EST
    President Bush issued a perfunctory statement on Tuesday, saying the nation was praying for the men and pledging federal help in the effort to bring them out alive. “May God bless those who are trapped below the earth,” he said. The hypocrisy of Bush’s remarks is highlighted by the role of his administration in gutting mine safety inspections and promoting the downsizing, deregulation and unlimited profiteering that have contributed to this tragedy. A number of those in the grim vigil outside the Sago Mine have remarked bitterly over the fact that workers in the impoverished Appalachian coal fields are forced to risk life and limb every day simply to earn enough to support their families. ... More than four decades after Michael Harrington highlighted the desperate conditions in Appalachia in his work, The Other America, West Virginia continues to be one of the most impoverished states in America. The state has the lowest median income in the US and the sixth highest percentage of poverty (17 percent). In Upshur County, where the Sago Mine is located, more than 20 percent of the population lives below the US government’s official poverty level.
    Twelve of 13 miners found dead after false rescue report By Jerry Isaacs, 4 January 2006

    Re: 12 Trapped Miners Not Found Alive (none / 0) (#17)
    by theologicus on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 09:13:32 AM EST
    There is a deeper problem here than just the failure of the media. From today's Democracy Now: The miners had been trapped at least 260 feet beneath the surface since early Monday. The mine, owned by the Kentucky-based International Coal Group, was cited for over 200 health and safety violations last year, including 21 citations for the dangerous build-up of combustible materials.

    Re: 12 Trapped Miners Not Found Alive (none / 0) (#18)
    by kdog on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 09:23:27 AM EST
    Wilbur Ross, the head of Int'l Coal Group, is worth 1 billion dollars. I suppose he could have brought the safety standards up to par, and doubled the miners wages; but then he would only be worth 900 million or so, and any self-respecting free market hard-liner knows that is unacceptable. Greed kills.

    Re: 12 Trapped Miners Not Found Alive (none / 0) (#19)
    by Slado on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 09:29:53 AM EST
    Punchy I heard one of the ladies say this morning on NPR "I'll tell you one thing. I'm gonna sue!" If the allegations of abuse are true more power to her. Andreas I hear what you're saying but I doubt anything the Bush administration supported or allowed to happen justified the type of abuse alledged by the mining company. It sounds like no matter what laws were innacted or in place this company was violating them aggregiously. Again if the allegations are true. As for West Virginia were is the venerable Senator Byrd on miners issues? He's been milking the federal treasurey for years and it appears if your link is true West Virginia has little to show for it.

    Re: 12 Trapped Miners Not Found Alive (none / 0) (#20)
    by Edger on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 09:43:05 AM EST
    theologicus :
    There is a deeper problem here than just the failure of the media.
    Concepts of morality were developed to benefit people. The economy was meant to benefit people. Government was meant to benefit people. Industry regulations were meant to safeguard and benefit people. How did society get to a point where these things are considered more important than people; that people should serve them?

    Re: 12 Trapped Miners Not Found Alive (none / 0) (#21)
    by Dadler on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 10:31:05 AM EST
    West Virginia is an almost entirely Democratic controlled state. That's the truth here politically, but no one on the right better argue their side has been any better on this type of issue. Bush tried to win votes by telling miners he was against the enironmental regs that companies hate (a pro-miner stance in W.V.), then after the election supported rollbacks in safety standards (an anti-miner stance in W.V.) for those same mining companies. And speaking of Robert Byrd, here's a quote from him on MEET THE PRESS in late 2004: SEN. BYRD: Look, I'm the son of a coal miner. I married a coal miner's daughter. I know a lot about coal. I know a lot about the Depression. Yes, coal is a dirty energy source. But look what we're trying to do. We're trying to clean it up. I've appropriated moneys over the years for coal research to make it cleaner. Not clean enough, Senator. Not nearly. In more ways than one.

    Re: 12 Trapped Miners Not Found Alive (none / 0) (#22)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 03:14:28 PM EST
    If you want to bash the media, at least find something they did that you can disagree with. Don't just make stuff up. In this case the media simply reported information that the mining/rescue officials had relayed to the family members who were waiting. That's a nice story, unfortunately it's wrong. What the media ran with and pumped up into the Mining Miracle story was that someone told the families that 12 had been found alive. That someone -- a man who ran into the church -- was never identified during the coverage last night, and morphed in news reports from being a "mining official" (when the press began its swarm of jubilation) to "someone from the mining area" (when the truth came out). At the time this all started, that's all anyone in the media had -- one anonymous source and only 2nd or 3rd hand reports on who he might or might not have actually been.