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CNN BREAKING NEWS
More on Utah Rescue Effort Casualties
Aired August 17, 2007 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Standing by with us Dennis Odalia (ph) United Mine Workers of America safety and health director. That was Jeff Manley (ph), the CEO of Castleview Hospital. That was a press conference from earlier, probably about, I guess about an hour ago now. Three miners that we know of are at that hospital, that we did see another helicopter land there. Whether or not another patient was brought in we don't know. We know a fourth person was sent to the trauma center which he indicated about 50 miles away, about a 35 minute helicopter ride away, the University of Utah trauma center there.
We don't know the condition of that patient. We've checked with the hospital, they are trying to see if they can release the information. The public relations people, that hospital simply did not have the information to give out.
Dennis, at this point, the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration is saying one of the nine rescue workers - this is actually a confirmation here. The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration is saying one of the nine rescue workers has died. One of the nine rescue workers who was injured at the Crandall Canyon Mine in Utah has died.
We have a live press conference. Let's listen in.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible)
QUESTION: How many people were (Inaudible) ...
COOPER: Well, the information that we could see her saying there, obviously the audio is very bad, we're trying to get that fixed. Eight injured, one dead. Eight rescuers have been injured, one fatality. That also confirmed by the U.S. Mine Safety and Health information which crossed the wire just moments before we heard it from that official there.
Exactly the circumstances of the fatality we don't know. We had seen previously one of the ambulances that had left the mine with blackened windows. That was certainly an ominous sign, but at this point we don't, you know, want to go down the road of speculation. But we now have confirmation that one of the rescue workers has died.
Kara Finnstrom is at the hospital on the line with us at the hospital. Kara, what is the situation? And we're showing our viewers more pictures from these ambulances. Kara, what's the situation at the hospital that you can see? KARA FINNSTROM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, right now just behind me a helicopter did just take off. We've seen helicopters land here twice. This is the second one we've seen one take off. As you mentioned, we did just get those report that's there has been one death confirmed, and eight injuries. The hospital spokesperson who came out a short while ago and gave us an update saying that there were three miners here being treated, two of those miners with serious injuries, one with very serious injuries, and they expected up to 11 miners to be treated here.
He did tell us that they had gotten confirmation from the mine that there was some type of a bump, some seismic activity up there, that led to all of this. And these rescue workers were brought out. We did speak with someone down here, a man, who said he was helping with some rescue efforts at the mine, clearing around the entrance to the mine. And he said he saw a lot of confusion. All of a sudden he saw stretchers being taken in and out of the mine, he saw some respirators being taken into the mine.
But that the rescue workers right around the entrance of the mine were told to leave before any of these ambulances arrived and told to go home for the night. We are also told that the families of these miners are being kept inside, sequestered. We haven't seen them. But the families that have been notified and brought here are being kept inside.
So Anderson, really, the latest word from here is that they have at least three miners being treated here. We were also told this is a local hospital, that any really serious injuries would be taken to the University of Utah's trauma center. And so some of those miners would just be flown right over here. They say they treat more injuries along the lines of broken bones, possible head injuries, but serious head injuries would be forwarded onto the University of Utah's trauma center.
COOPER: So, Kara, just so I'm clear, three miners we know of are being treated currently at that hospital. We had that press conference. We learned that before we saw these helicopters coming and going. You say you've seen, what, at least two helicopters landing?
FINNSTROM: Right. That press conference occurred and then since then, because that actually occurred before we got on site with our truck, that press conference occurred and then since I've been here, I've seen two helicopters. And I'm told that is all that anyone here has seen, landing, taking off. On our way over here also, I did see an ambulance going past me. I'm coming here. That ambulance going past me towards the mine.
COOPER: But we don't know ...
FINNSTORM: So maybe more ambulances, miners arriving.
COOPER: But we don't know if people -- Do you know if people were taken off those helicopters? If victims were taken off those helicopters? FINNSTROM: We don't know.
COOPER: OK. We don't know that.
FINNSTROM: We don't know that. We don't know if perhaps someone was being transported to the University of Utah.
FINNSTROM: Because they had a more serious injury or if perhaps more miners are being brought in. We can't get to that area. They've kind of got it cordoned off.
COOPER: Sure, understandable. And I can tell you, Kara, just for your reporting further on, we know we have confirmation from the University of Utah Hospital that one victim has been brought to that hospital. That helicopter took off quite some time ago. It has already landed at the University of Utah. So we have one victim who has been taken to that hospital. Apparently with some sort of trauma because that's where the big trauma center is.
So we'll continue to try to figure out, hope to get some sort of statement, Kara, from the hospital about if they have any new patients there. But we know that they have at least three because that's the information they have given out.
Dan Simon joins us now, along with Tammy Kikuchi from the Utah Department of Natural Resources who just gave that brief press conference. Dan, go ahead.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Tammy, along with other officials, has now confirmed that there is one fatality. You've been in the command center for the last several minutes. Give us a sense as to what's going on inside.
TAMMY KIKUCHI, UTAH DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES: I just spoke with the MSHA PIO at the top of the hill who confirmed that there are a total of nine injured, one unfortunately suffered fatal injuries.
SIMON: And obviously, things are very intense, things changing by the minute. How are the folks in there handling all this?
KIKUCHI: It is tense in there. But we are doing our best to get the information out. I also should mention that all rescue workers have been evacuated from the mine.
SIMON: So you're saying of the nine people who were injured, all nine of them have been evacuated from the scene.
KIKUCHI: No. The remaining rescue workers. There were nine injuries, one of those unfortunately was fatal. And then the additional workers have been evacuated from the mine.
SIMON: Are there still victims trapped in the mine?
KIKUCHI: I do not know. I will find out that information. SIMON: OK. And you said earlier that the governor of Utah was on his way to the hospital.
KIKUCHI: He is. He's on his way to Price where he will go directly to the hospital where the injured have been transported.
SIMON: OK. Tammy Kikuchi with the Department of Natural Resources, if you hear any more information, you'll come back to us.
SIMON: Thank you so much. Anderson, back to you. Again, as you heard there, one fatality, nine people injured. And at this point, all of the rescuers have been evacuated from the scene.
COOPER: Dan, I just want to give our viewers a sense of the physical location of all of this. Where are you in relation to the entrance of the mine and in relation to the local hospital?
SIMON: Well, the local hospital is in Price, Utah, which is about 45 minutes away from where we are. We are near the town of Huntington, which is about 140 miles south of Salt Lake City. This is a very remote area. In fact, it's so remote we can't even use our cell phones. And obviously, that's been a problem from day one with all of the crews out here at the scene and it's been a problem, of course, for the miners because they have had no ability to communicate with the outside world, no cell phones, no walkie-talkies, absolutely zero communication.
In terms of where we are, we are about two miles away from the mine. This is where the media has been camped out now for about 11 days. There's a sheriff's command center that has been set up here. This is where Bob Murray gives his daily briefings. And, again, we're just a couple of miles away from the scene. And as you heard Tammy just say, it appears, if I understood correctly, that everybody has been evacuated.
COOPER: Yeah. That is absolutely what she said. And, of course, the terrible news, eight injured, one fatality. Bob Ferriter with the Colorado School of Mines, mine safety program director, is with us on the line as he has been for quite some time. Bob, certainly that is one fatality is just the worst thing you can possibly hear.
BOB FERRITER, COLORADO SCHOOL OF MINES: Oh, it is. It is. You know, when a rescue operation turns into additional fatality or even one fatality, that's too many. It's very unfortunate, and I know everybody is just heartbroken to hear that.
COOPER: As you were saying earlier and was on the other side of this hour -- it's now 12:09 East Coast Time. No doubt we're getting new viewers who are just joining us so don't mind repeating yourself, Bob. But the fact that we have seen mountain bumps, seismic activity in the 11 days of this rescue operation and there have been multiple times when the rescue workers have had to pull out where the mine officials are saying, look, this is going excruciatingly slowly. You now have a situation where nine people have been injured, one of them has died, four others that we know of are under medical care in hospital settings at this point. I'm not sure about the other four, if they're en route or don't need hospitalization.
But what does this mean for the rescue effort? I mean, how do you tomorrow, come daylight, how do you in good conscience, send more people into the mine to continue the operation?
FERRITER: Well, Anderson, that's a very difficult decision that MSHA going to have to make. You can expect more of these tremors.
COOPER: Just to interrupt, is that the mine owner who has to make that or government officials?
FERRITER: No, no. MSHA would make that determination. Mine owner would make a recommendation but MSHA will make a final determination on that.
COOPER: MSHA stands for Mine Safety Health Administration?
FERRITER: Yes. The Mine Safety and Health Administration. The people onsite there or the Arlington headquarters would make that decision, if they'll let the rescue teams back into the mine. So somebody has to make a judgment. We've had the tremors. We can anticipate that we will have more. Is the support they're putting in there to protect the rescuers, is that adequate? Do we need to put in more? If so, that's probably going to slow the rescue effort down more, even more, than it has been. It's really a difficult time. We're in a very difficult situation.
COOPER: God, and what a terrible decision to have to make. I mean, what are the options? Is it an option not to continue the rescue effort? I mean, if there are six people down there, whether they are still alive or whether they are not, at some point they have to be brought out.
FERRITER: That's true, too. I will tell you, though, that in years past, and not recently, but in years past, people have made the decision that it's too risky to go back in and get those people or it's just -- you just can't do it. And they have left miners entombed in mines. Now I would not think that this would happen here, even if it takes a couple of months to get back in there. I'm sure they will try everything possible to go back in there and retrieve those miners. But, there again, there's been a tremendous amount of disturbance in there from all the long wall mining and the seismic activity. There's going to be more of those tremors and it's going to be difficult to hold those openings open. Those are the only access back there. Somebody is going to have to make a decision.
COOPER: Bob, stand by. On the phone I'm joined by Patsy Christie whose son was in the mine. Patsy, thanks for calling. How are you doing, first of all?
PATSY CHRISTIE, SON WAS IN MINE TONIGHT (voice-over): I'm doing fine. I know that my son is OK. He's probably, like all the rest of them, just in shock. But he is fine. He did call his wife and he was not injured. COOPER: When you heard the news -- I mean, it's obviously it's something every mining family fears. How quickly did you get the information that your son was OK? Did you get the information of what was going on?
CHRISTIE: It was probably an hour or so after it happened. My daughter-in-law got word from the mine, and she called me.
COOPER: And your thoughts as you, you know, hear that there has been one fatality, that there are eight others injured, obviously your thoughts go out to those other families.
CHRISTIE: Yes. Yes. It's just -- it's a terrible thing. It's -- we're a close-knit community, both counties. We're both coal mining counties. Everybody is close, and everybody knows somebody that's in there. So it -- we're just all trying to hold everybody else up, you know. It's just a horrible thing that's happened.
COOPER: Your son, is he part of the rescue effort?
COOPER: That's got to -- you know, I was talking to some folks, Dennis Odell (ph) from the United Mine Workers who was saying it takes a special person to be a miner to begin with, but to be a miner involved in rescue operations, that's -- it is doubly dangerous. You go into a volatile area fully aware of all the risks. It's got to be, as a mom, it's got to be something that just makes you worry.
CHRISTIE: It is. I was a coal miner. My husband was a coal miner. We come from coal mining families so we do know what the risks are. I have another son in another mine. So it has been - it has been difficult.
COOPER: I can't even imagine. What do you want people who are watching -- there are a lot of people watching and no doubt praying, they are going to be saying prays as they go to bed tonight -- to know about your son, about the others who are there now?
CHRISTIE: Just that they have went over and above what was expected of them. My son doesn't work in that mine. He works in another mine. He still has been in there for 11 nights, and he wouldn't have been anywhere else.
COOPER: Is that right?
CHRISTIE: The people that were there, it's the only place he could have even thought of being.
COOPER: Even knowing the dangers?
CHRISTIE: And that goes for all of these men.
COOPER: He wouldn't want to be anywhere else because his fellow miners are trapped? CHRISTIE: That's right. And that goes for every man that's on that mountain and in that mountain. They are all just - they're heroes. They're, you know -- there's men and women in there, and working around the clock to rescue these six people. And there's people all over in the mine. There's people outside of the mine. And they're just all working over and above what would even be expected. But they're doing it because these are their brothers, their sisters. And friends.
COOPER: Patsy, did you hear from your son or from your daughter-in- law what your son said about what happened or about what was going on?
CHRISTIE: No. He was unable to talk very much.
COOPER: Sure. Understandable.
CHRISTIE: He called her -- it's a traumatic event. I don't think any of these people are really talking a lot.
COOPER: Understandable. I can certainly understand. I mean, there's a lot going on. And it's not the time for them to be talking about it. Patsy, I appreciate you calling in and being with us and telling us a little bit about your son, about all of these other miners, the men and women who are down there and doing this every day. Thank you, Patsy.
CHRISTIE: You're welcome. Thank you.
COOPER: We're anticipating a hospital press conference within the next 15 minutes. Very curious to hear that because at the last press conference they had said they had three victims of this accident at the local hospital. But we have seen other helicopters landing since then so the assumption being that somewhere else out there are four other injured people that we have not, we in the media, been able to witness or account for. Assuming -- We will see if they are at the hospital now or if they are still at the mine location or perhaps their injuries do not require hospitalization. We simply don't know, we hope to find that out in the next 15 minutes.
So you'll want to stay tuned for that. Amanda Madrigal also joins us again on the line. We had spoken to her before her brother and her father were helping out in the rescue operation. Amanda, have you gotten an update?
Amanda, are you there? All right. We'll try to re-establish connection with Amanda. Her situation, she was in Las Vegas and was very concerned, obviously, about her brother and her father. She hadn't heard from them. We tried to assure her that, as far as we knew, all of the victims' families, all the injured rescue workers' families had been notified and were all either at the hospital or at least had been notified of the situation.
Let's take the press conference.
QUESTION: What can you tell us about what happened up here? RICH KULCZEWSKI, MSHA OFFICIAL: What I can tell you is I can confirm there were nine injuries. Of the nine, one was fatal. I can't give you any -- we are not going to give you any names. At 6:35, there was an underground bump. I will also tell you that of the nine injuries, two were MSHA personnel. All miners and MSHA personnel have been accounted for. We did an accounting before anyone left the mine property. They were all checked out by EMTs. We expect to provide you with a more thorough briefing later this evening.
QUESTION: Any idea when?
KULCZEWSKI: I would hope within the next hour, but that's flexible still.
QUESTION: Was the fatality an MSHA person or miner?
KULCZEWSKI: It was a miner.
QUESTION: What about the condition of the others injured? The conditions of the others injured. We heard that some of them may have serious injuries. Can you talk about that?
KULCZEWSKI: I don't know specifics. They're various, everything from some chest injuries to just cuts and scrapes.
QUESTION: Can you tell us about what actually happened inside the mine?
KULCZEWSKI: They're determining that now.
KULCZEWSKI: Yes, they have.
QUESTION: What is a bump, exactly?
QUESTION: Are you suspending the rescue operation?
KULCZEWSKI: We'll discuss that at a later time.
QUESTION: Would your personnel have been monitoring the rescue effort? The MSHA people that were in there?
KULCZEWSKI: The MSHA people were in there, as they always have been during the last 11 days, as part of the rescue team.
QUESTION: The people who were injured, were they on the very inside next to the continuous mining machine, or were they on the outside?
KULCZEWSKI: Those details will come out later.
QUESTION: Can you tell us, though, was it a cave-in, walls collapsing, debris? What was it?
KULCZEWSKI: At this time, it looks like it was very similar to some of the other bumps we've had. QUESTION: And then debris falling?
KULCZEWSKI: I'm sorry?
QUESTION: And then debris falling because of that somehow? Was it debris that injured the men inside the mine?
KULCZEWSKI: I think Mr. Stickler and Mr. Murray can address that a little bit more. They had a meeting as soon as we accounted for everybody with all the miners and all the MSHA personnel that were in the mine at the time and at the face. And they were debriefing them.
QUESTION: Is the fourth drilling operation still going on?
KULCZEWSKI: As far as I know, it is.
QUESTION: Was there a bit of a collapse?
KULCZEWSKI: We don't know that yet.
QUESTION: And everyone has been evacuated now?
KULCZEWSKI: There is no one in the mine.
QUESTION: The fatality a miner you said?
KULCZEWSKI: The fatality was a miner.
QUESTION: What do you tell the families of the missing six?
KULCZEWSKI: That's a hard question.
QUESTION: Can the search -- Can the tunneling resume?
KULCZEWSKI: That's something that is going to have to be addressed.
QUESTION: Has it not been decided yet?
KULCZEWSKI: Nothing has been decided.
QUESTION: What is a bump? You said it was a bump. Can you explain that into lay terms?
KULCZEWSKI: Basically, we just talked about that, a different term. It's a seismic bump. It's a seismic activity.
QUESTION: So the ground shook?
KULCZEWSKI: Miners call it a bump.
QUESTION: It ends up with debris falling on the miners. Is that essentially it?
KULCZEWSKI: It can involve that.
QUESTION: Sir, there's a discussion that the rescue effort to get the six trapped miners, that might be suspended.
KULCZEWSKI: That's something that still has to be determined. I've got to get back up to the mine. I just want to give you that information. We will have more information for you very shortly. Hopefully we'll call down here and give you a heads-up as to when that will be.
QUESTION: Can you spell your name one last time.
KULCZEWSKI: It's K-U-L-C-Z-E-W-S-K-I.
QUESTION: Pronounce it?
QUESTION: And your first name?
KULCZEWSKI: Rich. Thank you very much.
QUESTION: Thank you, Rich. Appreciate it.
COOPER: Well, some information did come out of that press conference. That was a press conference close to the operation center. We are still anticipating a press conference sometime in the next 10 minutes from the hospital, I believe from the local hospital, if I'm not incorrect, in which case we hope to get a much firmer idea of exactly where all of the injured rescuers and injured miners are because we know three of them are at the local hospital.
We know one of them is at the University of Utah. We're not sure of the exact physical location of the other four. And of course, there is that one fatality. We learned from that press conference that the fatality was a miner, that two of the injured were actually MSHA workers, workers from the Mine Safety and Health Administration, who are overseeing the rescue operation.
And earlier when I was talking to Bob Ferriter from the Colorado School of Mines, the mine safety program director, a guy who's been in and out of mines his entire career and knows more about it, we talked to him a lot during the whole Sago tragedy, he was pointing out that any decision that is made about whether or not to continue with this rescue operation for the original six trapped miners will be made by MSHA.
So the fact that two MSHA workers were actually on site during this operation and were so close to the operation, that they were also injured. Again, we don't know the extent of their injuries. We did just hear that some of the injuries, some were chest injuries, from chest injuries being one part of the spectrum to just cuts and scrapes being the other part of the spectrum.
And obviously we know one person has been transported to a trauma center, which would obviously indicate a serious level of trauma that he experienced. He also said that -- and I didn't catch his name. So I apologize for just calling him "he." But Rich -- not sure of the last name. Anyway, he did say that the bump that occurred was similar to other bumps that have occurred, and that has, of course, has been one of the big problems these last 11 days in this entire rescue operation. We're showing you pictures from inside the mine.
And as our own Gary Tuchman experienced, there are these seismic bumps. And it has slowed down this rescue operation. There is no doubt about it. They have had to pull rescue workers out of the mine. And at this point, at this very moment, that mine sits empty except from those six people who were trapped some 11 days ago.
Rich joins us now. Rich, I'm sorry, what is your last name?
COOPER: Kulczewski. And you are with whom?
KULCZEWSKI: I'm the regional affairs director for the U.S. Department of Labor out of Denver, MSHA.
COOPER: You're with MSHA. All right.
Rich, I appreciate you joining us. You're live on the air right now. What you said, there were two MSHA workers who were injured in this incidence. Do you know the extent of their injuries?
KULCZEWSKI: Not fully, but from what we understand, they are not life-threatening. They're not severely injured, but they are ...
COOPER: Are MSHA workers -- how does is it work? Are MSHA workers always on the scene in p any attempt to forward progress into this mine?
KULCZEWSKI: They have been underground with the mine rescue team since day one. They are part of the entire team. They are there to monitor and work with the mine rescue teams.
COOPER: How often have you been experiencing these seismic bumps?
KULCZEWSKI: I think Mr. Stickler and Mr. Murray has mentioned every once in a while when -- there was one last night, I believe. I'm not sure of the exact time. There was also one this morning.
COOPER: And at this point the mine is empty, yes?
KULCZEWSKI: Everyone is accounted for. Everyone is out of the mine.
COOPER: Do you know the actual location of -- we know at the last presses conference at the hospital they said there were three people admitted to the hospital. We know one from the Utah hospital -- I'm sorry. From the University of Utah Hospital. We know that one person was helicoptered there. So that accounts for four. Are the other four, have they been hospitalized or did their injuries not need hospitalization? Actually I'm sorry. I've got to interrupt. We have a press conference from the hospital where we'll get that information. We'll have to come back to you, Rich.
QUESTION: To your right, sir. Where the T is. That's your mark, sir. Right there. Thank you.
JEFF MANLEY, CASTLEVIEW HOSPITAL CEO: Folks, Castleview Hospital received six patients. Of those six, one has been released to go home, one has life-flighted to Salt Lake City. The four other miners are still being treated, and I can't release any information about their injuries right now. I can tell you that it is our understanding that three were life-flighted from the mine.
And with that, I'll answer a couple of questions. I do have -- excuse me - I do have with me Mayor Joe Piccolo, who is the mayor of Price City. He wanted to be here with us. So go ahead and ask a question.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) Can you at least elaborate on that a little bit more? I'm guessing at this point you've had a chance to talk to emergency personnel.
MANLEY: You know, when I say trauma, we're talking possible head injuries, broken bones, and there could be some internal injuries. That's what I mean by "trauma."
QUESTION: You said 11 parents before. Is that still the number you have?
MANLEY: We received six. If you add the three that we believe went to Salt Lake, I believe that would be nine.
QUESTION: Where are the family members in the midst of all this?
MANLEY: The family members who do not have is an injured miner have been asked to leave the campus. They've just -- we just asked them to go ahead and go home. The family members with injured miners, they are still in the hospital. We do have some social workers on staff talking with the family members. We've already had a great community response. We've had local agencies calling to see if we need baby- sitters, et cetera. So we've had some tremendous response already.
QUESTION: Mr. Manley, have you seen any ....
QUESTION: ... released here shortly?
MANLEY: You know, I just don't know. They're still being treated.
QUESTION: Mr. Manley, the one patient that was life-flighted from your hospital to Salt Lake City, was that because his injuries were beyond the scope of what you could deal with here?
QUESTION: Can you elaborate any more on that?
MANLEY: I can't. We don't do major head trauma here.
QUESTION: Mr. Manley, do you know if you've had support of the families of the trapped miners with the rescue miners here now?
MANLEY: I don't understand. What do you mean support?
QUESTION: Has any of the family from the trapped miners arrived here to show support from the miners that are part of the ...
MANLEY: I don't know that.
QUESTION: This must have been shocking news for this community to receive. What is the mood in there in the hospital right now?
MANLEY: Well, obviously, we're concerned about the miners and their families. We're very concerned.
QUESTION: This is probably not the news that you guys wanted to receive tonight.
MANLEY: Of course not.
QUESTION: Any word on the fatality in the mine?
MANLEY: Excuse me?
QUESTION: Any word of the possible fatality?
MANLEY: No. At the mine?
QUESTION: None of the injuries treated here have turned fatal? There's no ...
MANLEY: The press are reporting one dead.
QUESTION: What do you have at your hospital?
MANLEY: Excuse me?
QUESTION: Did that occur here at this hospital?
MANLEY: I believe it did, yes.
QUESTION: So you had one die?
QUESTION: Of the six?
MANLEY: Tonight. Yes.
QUESTION: Could you tell us the circumstances of that individual? Was he the first person, the last?
MANLEY: I truly don't know. QUESTION: It's one out of the six who were brought here?
QUESTION: So one released, one life-flighted, one deceased?
MANLEY: I can't see you.
QUESTION: One deceased, one life-flighted, one released, three being treated?
MANLEY: Yes. We've been told there have been three life-flighted from the mine.
QUESTION: Right. I'm just talking about your hospital specifically.
QUESTION: So one of the similar at your hospital is the one deceased?
MANLEY: Yes. We have one deceased. I'm sorry. One deceased and three still being treated.
QUESTION: Did he die here at the hospital?
MANLEY: I don't know.
QUESTION: In all, the three others (inaudible), are they life- threatening?
MANLEY: I can't. I have not been in the E.R. I haven't been down there. I let the medical professionals do that. Obviously, they're serious, but ...
QUESTION: Talk about any extra help ...
MANLEY: We look at every injury at serious until the treatment has ended.
QUESTION: Can you talk about any help that you received from outside tonight at this hospital?
MANLEY: You mean medical help?
QUESTION: Yes. Like any other extra doctors, surgeons.
MANLEY: Well, we've called in almost all of our medical staff showed up.
QUESTION: Say that again.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) names?
MANLEY: The mining officials need to release those names. I will not release those names.
QUESTION: Did the fatality occur at the canyon?
QUESTION: Could you clarify earlier at the outset you said four were treated. Now you're saying three. What is it?
MANLEY: I'm saying one was released, one was life-flighted. We have had a death. And we have three being continued to be treated.
QUESTION: Mr. Manley, earlier you said of the three we knew about in your initial briefing, two were serious and one was very serious. Do those classifications still hold?
MANLEY: You know what? We've had three more since then. I don't know which three arrived first. I really don't. So -- Anything else?
QUESTION: Mr. Mayor, have you been talking to the families? Or the people at the hospital?
MAYOR JOE PICCOLO, PRICE, UTAH: Yes. I have talked with the families.
QUESTION: What's the mood like?
PICCOLO: The mood is very hopeful, of course, to make certain that as many of the survivors that can be reached and talked to and satisfied, families missing their fathers and brothers and sons. It's a hopeful mood inside the hospital.
QUESTION: Can you talk about the strain on your community that this has been?
PICCOLO: Well, Carbon County and Emery County have been no stranger to these types of disasters over the many years of the energy extraction in our area. It's one of cooperation. Fund-raising, helpfulness, lend a hand. It's a very stressful part of a way of life that's been known here for many, many years. A hundred years perhaps.
QUESTION: And where were you tonight when you got the news about the latest collapse?
PICCOLO: I was eating some macaronis and cheese at the dinner table.
QUESTION: What went through your mind?
PICCOLO: I beg your pardon?
QUESTION: What went through your mind when you heard about it?
PICCOLO: To immediately get here and help, try to support the help that Mr. Manley would need in a time of organization and stress, to help the families realize the best possible results.
QUESTION: But this has to be crushing to this area, is it not?
PICCOLO: It has to be crushing to whom?
QUESTION: To people in this area. I mean ... PICCOLO: It's a devastating blow to what was already a tragic situation, yes.
QUESTION: How did you find out about the accident?
PICCOLO: It's a small community. And word travels very fast. And it's a very helpful community, as I might add. We were notified by the chief of police personally. But the word spreads pretty fast in our community. And the helpful hand that's available comes forward immediately.
QUESTION: Mr. Mayor, have you felt a personal touch to this?
PICCOLO: Yes, I do.
QUESTION: How so?
PICCOLO: Fifty years ago or so, my father was killed in the coal mine. There's many of us in the community that share that same personal touch. I also feel responsible for the energy and the impact that these types of things might have, social impacts, particularly. So I have a personal touch as well as an interest from an elected view.
QUESTION: What's it like then talking to the family members tonight at the hospital?
PICCOLO: It's hopeful. The feeling that there's hopeful, hopeful that there will be full recovery and that they can resume their positions in the community and in families. A lot of hope.
QUESTION: Did you get a chance to talk to the family of the deceased miner? Is he from Price? Do you know anything about this person? Or their family?
PICCOLO: Obviously, the name can't and won't be released until the mine has that information available. But I did have an opportunity to visit with them, and nothing more can be said about that.
QUESTION: Can you say his age? Older or younger miner?
PICCOLO: I believe that information would probably be best released by those who are in authority to release it. And my position is one of support from the community in the terms of emergency medical treatment and those kinds of things to assist that to happen.
QUESTION: What do you tell these families in a situation like this? Obviously ...
PICCOLO: There's nothing that can be said. It only can be shared the grief, the sympathy and sharing the grief in a moment of collapse.
QUESTION: Mr. Mayor, do you know about anything that was happening in the mine ...
PICCOLO: I do not. I know it was a continued effort to rescue the miners. I know nothing more than that.
QUESTION: Mr. Mayor, is this a pretty tightly knit community that comes together in times like this?
PICCOLO: Yes. I'm very proud to tell you that this is the best place in the world to have an emergency take place. We're a very tight- knit, cooperative community that shares each other's pain, each other's joys and sorrows. It's a wonderful place to be.
QUESTION: Mayor, do you think this community will have to be doing something tomorrow because of the deceased?
PICCOLO: I'm certain there will be many efforts brought forward, again -- there's plans for a fund-raiser to take place Saturday night in our peace garden downtown to assist everyone involved with the rescue operation. And I'm certain that there will be other plans for both -- there's two members that were involved in the cave that are from Price City as well as some from Helper (ph). So yes, there will be additional efforts, yes.
QUESTION: What's the condition of the mine right now?
PICCOLO: I'm sorry?
QUESTION: What's the condition of the mine right now?
PICCOLO: I have no knowledge of that. That's not already publicized.
QUESTION: You were saying two of the men that were injured tonight are from Price?
PICCOLO: No. One's missing that's entrapped. And others as well.
QUESTION: Any final thoughts to leave with the public about what these miners go through and kind of what their character is.
PICCOLO: What the miners go through? I have no final thoughts of that, but my final thought would be for all of us to pray earnestly from our hearts for those who need comfort in their times of need and for the healing process to take a quick of a whole as it can, that the families might resume normal activities and go back to an unstressed way of life. I pray that we find those who are trapped and that release comes quickly. That would be my final word.
QUESTION: Mayor Piccolo, can you spell your first and last name for us?
PICCOLO: I beg your pardon:
QUESTION: Spell your first and last name, mayor.
PICCOLO: Oh. Joe, J-O-E first name. Last name Piccolo. P-I-C-C-O- L-O.
QUESTION: How long have you been mayor?
PICCOLO: Six years.
QUESTION: How old are you?
QUESTION: Do you have any thoughts on whether or not the rescue efforts should continue or it's too dangerous? Do you as a mayor -- you're saying it's a tight-knit area. Any thoughts on whether you'll go back into the mine and do what they're doing or is it too unsafe?
PICCOLO: Our knowledge is less than necessaries to make that call but one of support of those who are in charge of deciding if it is safe or unsafe to go back in there, make that decision. We'll support them in any way possible that we can.
QUESTION: Who should make that call?
PICCOLO: Who should make it?
PICCOLO: I would suppose those in authority to have the knowledge of the safety of the mine. I don't have a name that I can give you, but it would be -- I think the most important thing about a rescue operation is that everyone has a job to do and as long as I do the job I'm supposed to do, which is from a support position, they'll do their jobs.
QUESTION: I don't know if you answered this earlier, but have you talked with the mayor of Huntington at all? Mayor Gordon?
PICCOLO: Mayor Gordon I haven't had an opportunity to speak much with. I've offered my help, Price City's help, yes.
QUESTION: Do you know if yourself or anyone at the hospital is coming out with any updates today?
PICCOLO: Don't know. Thank you.
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. Mayor.
QUESTION: What's your name, sir?
MIKE KNOWLES, UTAH-AMERICAN ENERGY: My name is Mike Knowles. I'm the resource director for Utah American Energy. I have a prepared statement from Dirk Philpot (ph) from the Mine Safety and Health Administration.
An accident has occurred during the rescue effort at the Crandall Canyon Mine Thursday night at approximately 6:35 p.m. At this time, it is believed the accident was caused by a bump. All rescue workers have been evacuated from the Crandall Canyon Mine and are accounted for. Nine rescue workers suffered injuries during this accident, one of which suffered fatal injuries.
QUESTION: So 10 total? KNOWLES: Nine total. That's all I have. Thank you.
QUESTION: What's a bump?
QUESTION: Can you clarify what a bump is, sir?
KNOWLES: No. I have nothing else to say.
QUESTON: Can you at least spell your name for us?
COOPER: You've been listening to a press conference. Mayor of Price, Utah, Joe Piccolo, and Castleview Hospital CEO Jeff Manley. Kind of confusing about the numbers. He was kind of all over the place. Press conference kind of made it more confusing. Anyway, basically, he's saying that they have currently three people, three victims from this accident, undergoing treatment at that hospital, at Castleview Hospital, which is a local hospital near the mine.
They have three people currently undergoing treatment. One other person has been life-flighted from the hospital, from the local hospital, to the University of Utah's Trauma Center in Salt Lake City. One other person has been released. And one other person has died. He wasn't exactly clear whether that person had died at the hospital or was deceased when they arrived at the hospital.
But that makes a total of three, four, five six, and we know at least one other had been life-flighted previously directly from the mine to the University of Utah, so that makes it seven. So there's two at this point sort of medically unaccounted for in terms of us. Obviously they've been accounted for somewhere on the ground, but we simply don't have fact you'll information on where those other two are.
The CEO of the hospital said that he had heard three people were life- flighted total to University of Utah, but, again, that's secondhand information. So the bottom line is, we know nine people in all were involved in this incident. Eight of them were injured and one of them has died. That's the bottom line. Dr. Sanjay Gupta has been listening into this medical press conference. Sanjay, what do you make of this? Obviously, the most severely injured have been life- flighted to University of Utah.
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. That's sort of a standard triage thing, Anderson. First of all, you get triage at the scene, at the mine, as it turns out here where determination is made. Does this person need to go to the hospital? Number one. Number two, can they go to the local hospital? Number three, do they need to be life- flighted to a trauma center? And then it sounds like in this case a patient was taken to the local hospital and, upon further evaluation, was determined they didn't have the resources, it sounds like, or the capability to be able to take care of that person at the local hospital so they were taken to the trauma center there.
That could be because the patient needs surgery of some sort, the patient may need some more sophisticated scanning. When they talk about very serious, which is a term I heard a couple of times now, it's a little bit of a vague term, Anderson. But it could mean, you know, someone's blood pressure is not stable so it's fluctuating, it's dropping, someone is having a hard time maintaining their airway for some reason, someone could have a crush injury to some of the vita vital organs either in their abdomen or their chest and that could cause bleeding that becomes uncontrollable in some way. All of those things would be obviously very serious, critical, would be synonymous with that situation.
And that might require surgery or at least some more advanced care. Also, you know, the sort of post-operative period, are patients going to need to be in intensive care units afterwards? Obviously all of those at a bigger trauma center.
But these decisions are made on the ground, they are made in process, and sometimes in the hospital they'll transfer patients back and forth depending on what's necessary.
COOPER: Sanjay, the mayor of Price, Utah is standing by to talk with us. Joe Piccolo, Sanjay, if you could stand by.
He joins us now. Mayor, I appreciate you being with us. I'm sorry for the losses in your community tonight. The folks you talked to at the hospital, how are people holding up?
PICOLLO: Well, obviously it's a very traumatic time for the whole community, and especially those who are most affected by a personal loss. The feeling here is one of great hope that there will be a quick recovery for those who are injured and they may join their families' normal activities again soon. So the feeling at the hospital is one of great hope. That's what's been throughout our community for the past 10 days or so.
COOPER: What happens -- maybe it's too early to talk about this. If you feel it is, speak up - but what happens tomorrow? I mean, do the rescue operations continue? What do you think should happen?
PICCOLO: Actually, as the mayor of Price City, my position would be one of support to those who might make that decision from a more elevated view. The rescue operations are obviously very dangerous. And I don't have that type of information in front of me to make that type of decision. However, I would tell you this -- once a decision is made, I think that the community will get behind that decision and support it. That would be my position, to support the decision made to either continue the rescue operation or to complete it.
COOPER: It's a tough call because, obviously, on the one hand there are the families of the six miners trapped originally and then there's the risk to those who are continue -- would continue to try to search for them. So it's got to just be a difficult call. You were saying in the presses conference your dad was a miner and he died in a mine. I mean, you know some of what that is like, that seeing your dad, seeing your loved one go out to work every day and knowing the risks they face. It's a special breed of person who does this.
PICCOLO: Obviously, the underground mining techniques have changed in the last 50 years, but still the feeling of danger and imminent chance of injury is very real. Yes, I have a very personal touch to it that brings back some cold-hard memories that makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck, thinking back to those early years as a child 50 years ago when my father was not able to survive the cave-in. So, yeah, there is a personal touch here as well as a community concern, love for those people who are suffering that traumatic loss at this moment.
COOPER: What happens for the rest of tonight? What are you going to be doing? Are you staying at the hospital, are you talking with families? What does the next hour or two hold for you?
PICCOLO: I intend to stay at the hospital until those who are wounded or hurt are stable and the families have no further need from the community. So that will be a few more hours, I'm sure. Maybe until the early hours of the morning. Whatever it takes, we're going to be here to support those families.
COOPER: So basically right now, as I understand it, the press conference was a little confusing, but as I understand it, there's three people right now being treated at the local hospital. Is that correct?
PICCOLO: I believe that's correct. Mr. Manley said there were three still being treated here, yes.
COOPER: And have you been able to talk directly to their families?
PICCOLO: Yes, I have. We've offered comfort and tried to confirm -- try to help them understand that there's a great deal of hope and things will be OK. So I've talked with most of them directly.
COOPER: Mayor Piccolo, we appreciate your time. I know it's a difficult situation. I'm sure a lot of folks are glad you're there. Appreciate you talking to us, mayor.
PICCOLO: Thank you for the opportunity.
COOPER: Sorry it's under these circumstances, but we appreciate your time.
PICCOLO: I'm grateful and I want to tell you that I think Price City has -- Carbon County and Emery County, we're all just one community that bonds together quite uniquely to respond in these types of emergency situations. So we'll do what we can to be helpful. And I appreciate you spreading the word that things are going to be OK here.
COOPER: You'll get through this?
PICCOLO: What was that?
COOPER: You'll get through this?
PICCOLO: Yes. We will get through this. The history and heritage of Carbon and Emery Counties is one that is of survivors. We'll get through this together. There goes another life-flight.
COOPER: That's another life-flight? Is it coming in or going out?
PICCOLO: It looks like to me that it's going out.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is.
COOPER: Mayor, again, appreciate your time, sir. Thank you very much.
PICCOLO: Thank you.
COOPER: We, again, three people currently being treated at that hospital. Mayor seeing another life-flight going out. Not clear whether it's going out with somebody or not. The CEO of the hospital said one person had already been life-flighted from that hospital. So again, we're still trying to kind of boil down the physical locations of all of these people. But, of course, the sad bottom line is there is one fatality tonight and one family whose lives will be forever changed. And that's something to remember tonight.
There are eight injured people also as well and our thoughts are with them and their families and their friends. We've been getting a lot of e-mails from viewers with a lot of questions, a lot of comments. Sanjay Gupta is on the line, so is Gary Tuchman, a number of the people who have been reporting this story for us as well as Dennis O'Dell also joins us, he is with the United Mine Workers of America. The safety and health director.
Let's go to him. Dennis, obviously, you know, I don't know that you and I had talked since we had learned there was one fatality, that's the worst possible news. Your thoughts about -- I mean, what happens tomorrow? What happens -- who makes that decision about whether the operation continues?
DENNIS O'DELL, UNITED MINE WORKERS OF AMERICA: Well, the decision will be made by MSHA. Federal Mine Safety and Health Administration. They'll evaluate everything. They'll look at what's happened as a result of this, gather all of the information that they have, and make a determination, put a plan together to decide whether they move forward or not.
You know, Anderson, this is so frustrating because, you know, so many people take the attitude and the approach that this is something that's acceptable and this happens in the mining industry. But I'm telling you this does not -- this doesn't have to happen. 1969 was the first time that we had any kind of legislative mining laws to protect miners and then again in 1977 they tweaked it a little bit to make it a little bit better. But we had nothing for 30 years up until Sago, no new regulations, safety protections.
I mean, companies spend billions of dollars into improving productivity but very little is done to improve health and safety. And this is so disheartening, so frustrating. That's why miners like myself and my brothers and sisters who work in the mining industry, when something like this happens, it just makes our guts hurt. It's just so frustrating, and it's sickening, it's disheartening. It really is. COOPER: Dennis ...
O'DELL: We have to do a better job than this.
COOPER: Dennis, along those lines, I want to read you one or two e- mails which I've received in the last hour or so. John in Unita (ph), Illinois writes, "I just heard a fellow talk about first aid training for rescue workers in the mines." He says, "Over the years, I've been in many of those training sessions. Not for a mine, but from my view, they're just feel-good training classes, they are about 30 minutes once a year. We should look into this kind of training."
Do you have concerns about the medical training that rescue workers are able to get?
O'DELL: Absolutely. Miners -- you know, I got it. Everybody gets it when they work in the mine. They have what they call annual retraining. And this training, they have input so much into it that it's gotten to the point where you really don't get anything out of it. We've talked to the Federal Mine Safety and Health Administration about this and we've said, look, we've got to do a better job. They try to cram so much into this annual retraining that it's gotten to the point that it doesn't do any good. It's a minimal training that miners get. It's nothing that you would expect, and then, again, like I said, under the Miner Act, we said, this is something that we need to spend more time in instead of eight hours a year, we need to expand that training for miners in the event something were to happen. I don't know what it's going to take. I honestly don't.
COOPER: Another e-mail from Amanda in Bountiful, Utah. She writes, she says, "It is morally reprehensible that the mining industry has been left in the dark ages when it comes to worker safety. There is technology available to locate miners in all circumstances, including mine collapse. RF technology has been rigorously tested in India (ph) mines, including coal mines for three years with excellent results.
O'DELL: We talked about those things. I mean, when the Miner Act was implemented, we talked about all of the other countries that have these technologies. You've heard us. We testified before Congress where even when Sago was going on, there was a miner who was covered up in a mine in Poland. And he had a tracking device, and they found him because of this tracking device.
SO there are technologies out there that could be applied to the mining industry here in the United States. The biggest problem is, nobody talks. I want you to think about even within our own government, you have government agencies, the military forces, you have NASA, you have all of these technologies out there that could be applied to the mining industry. But for some reason, the government agencies don't even talk.
We're trying to get that back on track now, and I think that to some extent we've done that, but it's just not moving fast enough to keep up with it. If we would have taken health and safety as serious over the past 30 years as operators have when they've tried to improve productivity, we wouldn't be in the situation we are today. We've just not kept up with miners dying of black lung today, we have miners getting hurt in situations like what you're seeing tonight. I'm telling you, Anderson, it's frustrating and I hope that people finally realize that, hey, it's time for us to get off the dead center and do something. Miners deserve better protection than what we're giving them.
COOPER: Again, I hate to bring this news to folks. We have just gotten word -- the Associated Press is reporting a hospital spokeswoman says a second mine rescue worker has died at a Provo, Utah, hospital. Again, we were trying in the last couple of minutes find out the physical location, the numbers trying to - the numbers didn't seem to add up. Now this word that a second of these rescue workers has died at a Provo hospital.
Dennis, who's on the line with us from the United Mine Workers of America. We know that two of the injured were MSHA workers. So MSHA, which is the Mine Safety and Health Administration, they were officially responsible for the ongoing operation, the safety of the operation, correct?
O'DELL: Well, what happens is ...
COOPER: Basically, the question is, who's running the show? Who's running this? At times it seems, in some of these cases, like it's the mine owners, and yet it's supposed to be the government, correct?
O'DELL: Well, here's what happens. In an event like this, any mine rescue, the Mine Safety and Health Administration, MSHA comes in and put a K order on the mine, which is called a closure order. Then the operator has to submit a plan to MSHA on what they're going to do, what steps they're going to take. Once that plan is put in writing, it's given to MSHA and they approve or disapprove it based on what's in the body of it. Now, I can tell you from the UMWA mines, the union mines, we have a role in that because we sit in the command center and we make decisions along with those others who put that plan together.
And we objectively look at that and talk about what's best for the protection of the rescue workers. Everybody sits down, they put this plan together, they give it to the agencies in charge and then they approve it if everything looks like it's on the up and up. So that's the process that takes place.
Protocol is that government agencies - sometimes states have state inspectors and, of course, federal inspectors, too. Protocol is that they go underground with the miners during the rescue attempt. So you'll have them with the team.
COOPER: Again, this word that two miners have died, seven injured. So again, we had the figure of nine involved in this incident. And unfortunately, the balance is shifting. Now it's seven people who were injured, two have died.
We're going to go to the hospital in just a moment. Kara Finnstrom is standing by. But first I just want to read another e-mail from a viewer who's been watching, Jennifer in Big Stone Gap, Virginia write, as a coal miner's daughter, "I know just how scary it is to watch your loved ones leave home and wonder if you might receive one of those call. My father is retired, but I remember the scary and close calls that he had. These men are a special breed, women, too. They not only risk their lives every day, they also compromise and sacrifice their health. Major new legislation needs to be enacted to provide the utmost security and safety for the miners. God bless those miners and their families."
And two families now have received those calls tonight that their loved ones have, in fact, died. Kara Finnstrom is live at Castleview Hospital. Kara, what are you hearing there?
FINNSTROM: Well, a lot of families waiting for word. A lot of these families had rescue workers who were family members up there doing this difficult work of trying to clear out this mine, and I was just told by a City Council member that all of the miners what were up doing the rescue work have been told to come off the mountain and to contact their family members because there are so many family members and just this whole community who wants to know who these miners are, if it is a loved one.
Some of these family members have shown up trying to get the names of the people who have been hurt. Anderson, as you mentioned, two now confirmed dead, seven injured. At this hospital here, were told one of those miners was brought and died. Three others are being treated here. One was released to go home tonight, and one was sent by life- flight to Salt Lake City because he had injuries that were just too serious to treat right here. Also did speak with a mine representative who told us that there are investigators from MSHA right now up at the site of the mine.
COOPER: We're going to continue with you in just a moment. I just want to recap for our viewers who are just joining us. There is a lot of fast-moving information, a lot of shifting information. So I just want to make sure we're clear. Here's the information as we know it.
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