Crandall Canyon – 10th Day (news conference)

Live blogged the news conference.

Disclaimer: Now, this is my take. I hear the words, I type them down, sometimes I smell bullshit and insert snark. Be prepared.


Continue to draw air samples – 7%, 33 parts per million (PPM) carbon dioxide. Continue to pump air in #2 hole. #3 most recent videos – now drawing air samples from there 16.8 O-2 & 22 PPM at #2

Going to start #4 bore hole – should start soon.

Have advanced 824 feet. Attempting to accelerate at a safe level.


“We have not recovered our fellow miners or located them.” Again with the seismic activity {snark = shit – thank gawd it was small.} Morale is good amongst the rescuers. He’s so sorry to tell families they’ve not recovered their loved ones.

“The mountain is still alive and is not allowing us to advance as rapidly as we want. ….. Their strength comes from their faith and they’re giving me strength.”

Now a ‘movie’ [as Bob called it] that they showed to the miner’s families using the 2nd camera in the #3 bore hole. They’ll play the tape and take questions. [Again with the ‘seismic activity’, which “is relentless. The mountain is still alive.” according to Bob.]

Bob takes total responsibility for them. “I’m no more important than they are.”


  • Water pouring down from the drilling (that’s done to cool the drilling process).
  • Shows the cavity into where the bore entered.
  • Pillars of coal.

Bore hole #4 -To get thru will take about two days – more further on…..

It’s taken 9 days to get this far and we have 1200 feet to go. Seismic activity reference #5….with managers brought in who have “500 years of experience.”

Stickler: 16% o2 means higher rate of heart, breathing rate. We breathe in approx 21% o2.

???On Geo-phones and the MSHA report on the Sago mining disaster: [Oh-oh, Stickler blicking like crazy with words ‘internal memo from MSHA’ about 26-year old technology used at the Sago mines. OK, it’s slowed down. I thought his eyes were going to take off.] Okay, we have the best technology possible currently being utilized and incorporated. [Back to normal blicking] ….he’s rambling a bit about finding miners. Clarifying what they meant by noises in the mine – Geo-phone can pick up any activity, a rock breaking, animals walking around. During the quiet period, which lasted 5 minutes, the Geo-phone prints out on a scanner and pinpointed spikes @ 1.5 second intervals or so. {I could be wrong about the timed intervals there.}

??? Question on seismologist? No new information these people can give us.

Discussion on the number of holes and the sectors into where the holes have gone. Stickler tries to explain that

  • (Hole #1) Sector #138 – active mining area (hole #1) where the miners were believed to have been working – originally.
  • (Hole #2) Sector #149 – hole #2 : at the back of the mine (not an active area where the miners would be working)
  • (Hole #3) Sector 142?
  • Hole Bore #4 is going to be drilled at a cross/cut (angle?) #143

??? Is it significant to continue on the same course when you’re not yielding different results? (At this point, what else can be done.)

??? – Now, ?? about what the miners would have done?

Murray appeared weary of the questioning and kind of wandered away….Stickler appeared frustrated with the speculation aspect from reporters.

Unless something significant happens or develops – the next roundup is at 11:00 am tomorrow morning, Friday, August 17th.

Seismic activity references: 5 thus far. (“Seismic activity is slowing us down”)


6 Responses

  1. This is so simple, a caveman could think of it, but nobody but me has. The miners are definetly in an area the size of three football fields, they have three drill holes down to that level allready, they are pumping oxygen into the small drill pipe, so the air by that hole will support life, they can drop food down the large pipe to feed the miners, the miners have plenty of water, so all that is missing is the miners. Simply make a loud noise, like someone blowing a trumpet, into one of the pipes, if someone is alive, they will run to that pipe making a loud noise, that can be heard anywhere in the mine, they will eat the food left there for them, they will carry the food to others that cannot get to the pipes and all the suspence will be over. Gee that was simple and it was free.


  2. Please pass this idea to the people in charge, so they can stop trying to bring the drill hole to the miners, instead bring the miners to the drill hole.


  3. OK – Wally,

    Gawdknows I’m no expert, but I would hold off on “Simply make a loud noise, like someone blowing a trumpet, into one of the pipes” – dislodging of stuff, say like coal – from walls or ceilings. I’d go with the “Hullo, Hullo!”

    Actually I was just going over a transcript from Jesuit University in Wheeling VA, their Technology Center had a chat yesterday & today about, among other things, inertial tracking devices.

  4. as a former miner — albeit hard-rock,
    as opposed to coal miner — let me
    temper some of wally’s remarks.

    one — pumping oxygen is a non-
    starter — this is not a sealed chamber.

    the oxygen will leak though the thousands
    of seams in the coal that not coincidentally
    make the pillars non-stable at that level
    of overburden.

    next, wally pictures this as three football
    fields of open drift. no one knows.
    and no one will know, until they reach
    about 1,750 feet of overburden.

    actually, it is more likely that if alive,
    the miners are in any one of ten or
    fifteen much smaller open pockets,
    separated either by partial cave-ins,
    or completely sealed-off blockages.

    again, if the miners are alive,
    they are very likely in one of these
    ten or fifteen “pockets” — with perhaps
    a hundred or two hundred feet of caved
    material “up-drift” of them.

    so, someone is going to have to go get them.

    next, wally assumes the miners are mobile.

    often, one can live for quite a number of days,
    with broken legs, or worse, crushed ones.

    they all could be pinned. if so, they are almost
    out of time. i’ll stop here — as i too am out of time.

    the object lesson here: it really is not a
    simple proposition, at all. . . it is a very
    dangerous, and fluid situation.

  5. I own a gold mine, work underground, know first hand what I am talking about. I have a three acre yard by my home here, that could easily hold three football fields, the area these miners are in is very small and the miners are very close to the drill holes right now. A loud sound at the bottom of the drill holes, could be heard very easily, by lost miners, no matter how much rubble is between them and the sound. I get annoyed, when people hear a very good idea and they immediately bring up many arguments, why it won’t work. Say you had a dog, that you loved very much and it was lost in this coal mine, would you then be willing to create a loud sound at the bottom of the drill hole, so your dog could follow the sound to the hole and then be fed food and carried to the surface. The sound has to be made at the level the miners are on, in order for it to be heard. When you are in a mine shaft 60 feet deep, and the person at the surface is hammering on metal beams in the shaft wall, you cannot hear that sound 60 feet away. These miners are 1800 feet away, so the sound has to be made at their level, before it will be heard. What makes a loud sound, that will fit in a small pipe and can be lowered to the floor of the mine ??? That is the only problem right now and any solution will work. My solutions are always so simple, that people get embarrased when they have not thought of them. I am 71 years old have a 20 year old son and I am most proud of the fact that I taught him how to think about a problem and not be distracted by the compleity of it. How will the rescuers feel when they have to admit that, they forgot to leave some food at the bottom of the hole and they forgot to leave a noise maker there???


  6. wally — i did not mean to insult you,
    as a fellow hard-rock miner, i simply
    meant to point out some factual
    realities that make your so-called
    “simple solution” less than
    likely to meet with success. . .

    i think, by now, you’ve read that the
    miners are near 1,800 feet deep. you’ve
    also read, by now, that the bore holes
    are about 3 inches in diameter. you’ve
    also read, by now, that microphones,
    cameras, and all other small instruments tend
    to get “hung-up” — or, stuck — in the bore
    holes, because the hole doesn’t run
    plumb, straight and true. . . this is due
    to the fact that the coal seam they are drilling
    through is shifting, especially near the points
    where original pillars collapsed — think of it as an
    undulating, snake-shaped hole, headed
    generally down. . . but meandering, as
    the coal seam shifts. . . and it shifts, hour
    to hour. . .

    my point is that it will be a very long time
    before the seam is stable enough to be
    able to put a bore hole of the size to lower
    food, or water, through — there is — as you’ve
    doubtlessly read — now some talk of drilling
    a hole large enough to hold a capsule, for one
    miner at a time, to be hoisted up. . . but that hole
    will take a very long time to bore, and will likely
    need to be shored up, with “bolts and bandaides”,
    all the way through the collapsed sections. . .

    else, a miner in the capsule could get “pinched”,
    or wedged, in a tight spot, some 1,000 feet below
    the surface, and still 800 feet from where he
    started — with no way back — up or down.

    i admire your enthusiasm — and your virility [a
    20 year old son at seventy-two?! wow — really?],
    and, me? i am merely a humble former moly miner. . .

    but it seems that a lot of your “simple” solutions
    won’t work — because a deeper understanding of the
    truly dynamic geology of this coal seam, shifting, collapsing,
    settling and bumping, is not taken into account. . .

    gold mining — read: hard-rock — mining, though a
    hard ore-laden mountain, is so much easier, by comparison to coal (soft-rock) mining. . .

    . . .think of it as trying to thread a needle, while
    riding in a rag-top jeep, on a very bumpy dirt road, at
    about 45 miles an hour, and you’ll have an accurate
    sense of what this is really like. . . then you have
    to get the thread down a narrow pipe, and on
    and on. . .

    finally, wally — you own a gold mine?

    really — where? colorado?
    is it in the sawatch range?

    do tell.

    p e a c e

    brass no. 4733

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