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  • noise underground the mine

    Huntington, Utah - Images from a videocamera lowered Wednesday into the mine where six men were trapped 10 days ago showed an undamaged shaft and a curtain that could mean the men, if they survived the initial blast, found breathable air, the mine's co-owner said.

    Rescue officials were reviewing the images late Wednesday, which were the first from a camera lowered into the third borehole drilled into the mountain. It showed a hemp ventilation curtain that divides intake air in the mine from the exhaust air.
    If the miners passed through the ventilation curtain, they would be in a pocket of good air, mine co-owner Bob Murray told The Associated Press late Wednesday. "There was no damage at all. The roof
    Mine Collapse
    • <LI class=video>Watch video as officials in Utah say some noise was detected by two devices monitoring vibrations near where six miners were trapped by a cave-in nearly 10 days ago. <LI class=slideshow>View a slide show of images of the underground tour and rescue efforts. <LI class=video>Watch raw video of the underground tour, as journalists experienced a "mountain bump" - seismic activity, leading to a tense few seconds. <LI class=video>Watch an underground tour of the mine. <LI class=video>Watch the press conference about new seismic activity that is slowing the pace of the rescue effort. <LI class=video>Watch the mine's owner criticizing the pace of his company's progress in reaching the trapped Utah miners.
    • Watch a video report detailing the frantic effort to reach the miners.

    is intact; no ribs have outburst. The floors are in place - it looked just as it did when we mined it," he said. "If the men went in there, they could be alive."

    The videocamera picked up no sign of the miners, Murray said.
    Earlier Wednesday, some noise was detected by devices monitoring vibrations in the mountain, raising "a very small amount" of hope that the men might be found alive, officials said.
    The sounds detected by two geophones could be a rock breaking underground or even an animal, said Richard Stickler, chief of the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration.
    "We saw some indication of noise for a period of about five minutes that we had not seen before," Stickler said.
    While the source of the noise wasn't known, Stickler said it had "created a very small amount of hope and optimism" among the families.
    Mining rescues after 10 or more days are not unheard of. In May 2006, two miners were rescued after being trapped for 14 days following a collapse at an Australian mine. In 1968, six miners were rescued after 10 days in West Virginia.
    "I am still very optimistic that we will find these miners alive. There is real reason to believe that," Murray said Wednesday. "I still remain very, very hopeful."
    The effort to dig out a rubble-filled tunnel was proceeding slowly Wednesday and could last another week and extend another 1,200 feet before reaching the area where the miners were believed to be working.

    A "seismic bump" from the mountain settling damaged a coal excavator Tuesday night, stopping the advance for more than two hours, but work resumed after repairs were made to the 65-ton machine, Stickler said.
    The miners know "we're doing what we can to get to them, and we're going to get there - no doubt about it," Bodee Allred, the mine's safety manager, said Wednesday in his coal-blackened overalls.
    Allred, who has a cousin trapped inside the mine, said the force of the collapse was "definitely something I've never seen before."
    The thunderous collapse blew out the walls of mine shafts, filling them with rubble. If the men were not crushed by rock, their bodies could have been crushed by the immense air pressure generated by the collapse, mining executives and federal regulators have said.

    And if they survived that, they could have died from lack of oxygen, even though fresh air is now being pumped down one of the drill holes.
    The miners could find drinkable water seeping everywhere through the mine, although they would have little or no food, having probably consumed what food they brought with them for their 12-hour shift, officials have said. "There's always a chance. You have to hang on to that chance. But realistically it is small, quite small," said J. Davitt McAteer, former head of the MSHA. "You would have to have every single break and divine intervention to successfully extract these guys




    I really, really , really hope that they are ok and that they will get to them soon.
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