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THE NATION

6th hole finds no livable space

August 26, 2007|From the Associated Press

HUNTINGTON, UTAH — The latest hole drilled into a collapsed mine where six men are trapped broke through an area too small for the men to survive, an attorney for several of the men's families said Saturday.

"The only thing they told us is there is no void where the sixth hole is; there is no space," attorney Colin King said after a meeting between the families and mine officials.

King said the news was disheartening for the families. "They are distraught. They're very frustrated for good reason," he said.

The Crandall Canyon Mine's co-owner has said this hole, the sixth drilled into the mountain, would be the last effort to find a sign of the men, who may not have survived the massive cave-in Aug. 6.

However, King said, mine officials did not rule out the possibility of drilling a seventh hole but did not provide any specific plans or possible locations for another hole.

Drilling on the sixth hole was completed late Saturday afternoon, the U.S. Department of Labor said, reaching a depth of more than 1,700 feet. Department of Labor spokesman Matthew Faraci said the same testing done on the earlier holes -- air samples, signaling in hopes of a response from the miners and dropping a video camera into the mine shaft -- would be done.

An update from officials at the mine is expected this afternoon.

Rob Moore, vice president of Murray Energy Corp., co-owner of the mine, said he had no comment on the initial findings from the sixth hole.

Tunneling into the mine was abandoned after another collapse killed three rescue workers and injured six others Aug. 16.

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