Workers Try to Clear Mine Where 27 Died

Associated Press

Crews making their way into a sealed, burning coal mine where 27 mine personnel were entombed sought to clear the mine of deadly gas and flames by today.

"Everything has progressed fairly well," Emery Mining spokesman Bob Henrie said Saturday.

Emery crews re-entered the mine last Wednesday after breaching a sealed portal. Teams wearing air tanks and protective clothing descended 600 feet into the entry, putting temporary seals on four tunnels that intersect the passage. The area was then ventilated, Henrie said.

Air Lock Planned

An air lock will be built at one of the seals, and crews will begin pumping fire-choking carbon dioxide into the next area to be entered.

When their work is finished, crews will enter the mine to remove the bodies of the victims.

Entry to the Wilberg Mine in central Utah was sealed shortly after the fire began on Dec. 19, in an effort to extinguish the fire.

A few weeks ago the fire in the mine was consuming hundreds of pounds of coal every minute, Henrie said.

Meanwhile, the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration was scheduled to resume closed hearings into the disaster Monday.

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