Friday, February 03, 2006

Dark as a Dungeon

The West Virgina coal mine deaths may be a sign of increasing problems at a lot of American coal mines.


MP3 File

Sixteen miners have died in a series of accidents in less than a month.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail says the rescue system for coal miners is running out of people -- and needs a lot of reforms.

Over the last 30 years...the size of the Mine Safety and Health Administration approved safety teams has dwindled by 70-percent.

The paper found that just between 2000 and 2002, the number of safety teams dropped by 10 percent.

When the Sago mine explosion took seven hours for the first rescue team to get in place.

But they couldn't go into the mine until their backup team arrived.

That didn't happen until 11 hours after the explosion.

Twelve miners died in the explosion. Investigators say they may have lived as long as ten hours until their air gave out.

The law says every mine in the country is supposed to have two rescue teams.

But MSHA data shows that at last count...there was only one team for every four underground mines.

Washington is digging itself into a hole on mine safety. (Charleston Gazette)

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