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Posted: 2:32 PM- HUNTINGTON -- More setbacks were reported today for efforts to rescue six miners trapped for the past 10 days in central Utah's Crandall Canyon Mine.
Richard Stickler, assistant secretary for Labor over the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration, said a third bore hole had punched through to a cavity where the miners are believed to be. However, initial efforts to drop a microphone into the space failed.
Stickler said it was learned the drill bit had "drifted" as it approached the cavity, and redrilling has resulted in a "bend" in the final stretch of the 1,415-foot-deep hole.
"We attempted to lower a microphone [but] couldn't get it all the way down to the mine seam," he said. "... [We] could get no closer than 20 feet of the [cavity] roof line."
As of early afternoon, efforts were focusing on pulling out the drill apparatus in order to attempt to lower a video camera into the bore hole, a process expected to take several hours.
It was unclear why a camera could be lowered, but a microphone could not.
In the meantime, efforts to dig through to the area that caved in 10 days ago from a parallel shaft continued to make agonizingly slow progress.
Stickler said that effort advanced only 90 feet overnight due to delays caused by seismic activity that triggered a minor sloughing of debris that damaged a continuous mining machine.
That machine was repaired in two to three hours, but nonetheless hampered crews underground. It still could take several more days for that effort to punch through to the targeted cavity, Stickler said.
Mine co-owner Robert Murray acknowledged the setbacks, but insisted chances remain good that the six miners are alive -- although there has been no word from them since the 3 a.m. cave-in on Aug. 6.
"The [cavity] roof is intact, there's been no falls from the seismic activity [and] there's plenty of water [and] plenty of void space ... for them to remain alive," he said.