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Mine Collapse

Aired August 16, 2007 - 23:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: The Mine Safety and Health Administration says at least nine workers have been injured in an accident at the mine.
From the university hospital, Chris Nelson, the director of P.R. for the University of Utah hospital, they're the hospital that sent the air-med ambulances. They are confirming that they've picked up one patient in a med-vac and are on their way back to the hospital, which is about 50 miles from the mine.

They have a second helicopter on the ground there ready to go if they are need. They cannot say anything about the condition of the patient or anything else right now, but said we should check back in a couple minutes.

So one air-med helicopter is en route back to the trauma center back at the University of Utah with one person on board. There is another helicopter on the ground waiting that has room for two people if necessary.

We don't know how many people at this point are down at the hospital.

Ed Lavandera, who has also been covering this story for days now is on the line.

Ed, you've actually talked to some family members?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on the phone): We put out a call to some of the family members with one of the trapped miners, Manuel Sanchez, and I was told by someone there at their home that the family had gone back to Huntington, which is the area where the school is, where families have been getting daily update, one in the morning, one in the afternoon. I suspect that they have been called back because of this development. Their last meeting is usually around 5:00 in the afternoon and usually takes about an hour, hour and a half and then they head back home for the evening.

But I've been told that most of the family members who have been going to these daily updates have returned back to Huntington to get these updates.

Anderson, a couple of things here to also keep in mind --there are two family members, relatives of these trapped miners, a brother and son of one of the trapped miners who have actually been working with these rescue teams and watching what they have been doing, and they have been part of the daily briefings back to these family members, reporting back to them, putting it into terms that they -- these families can understand as to the progress that was being made or not being made underground.

So one of the things to look out for here in the coming hours is were these two relatives involved in what has happened here this evening in any kind of way, which would be an incredible or further tragedy, if you will.

And I haven't been able to confirm one way or another if those folks were still working up there at the mine. I had spoken with one of them briefly just a few days ago. He looked exhausted and defeated, quite frankly, and he was hoping -- going to go back to work, but he had taken some time off.

And these guys have been spending quite a bit of time up on the mountain watching what these rescue teams were doing and reporting back to these families later in the afternoon and in the mornings, letting them know what was going on up on the mountains. So something to look forward here -- to look toward or ask about here in the coming hours.

COOPER: It is just two minutes after 11:00 here, Eastern Standard Time.

I just want to -- for our viewers who are just joining us at the top of the hour. This is what we know and this is what we don't know. We do know, according to officials, that nine miners -- at least nine miners have been injured in an accident, or a seismic activity -- as a result of seismic activity at this Crandall mine.

These were rescue workers involved in trying to get to the six miners who have been missing now for quite some time for all of this past week and last week as well.

Two helicopters were sent. One helicopter is already back -- heading back to the University of Utah Trauma Center. One person, one rescue worker is onboard that helicopter. Six ambulances were sent to the mine. At least three ambulances have returned from the mine with at least three people onboard. There may be more than one person in at least one of those ambulances, according to some witnesses.

The A.P. is reporting 10 -- the A.P. is reporting 10 injured people. Silvio Carrillo, producer, who is standing by at the hospital joins us on the line.

Silvio, what are you hearing?

SILVIO CARRILLO, ASSOCIATED PRESS: Right now we just got an update from Jeff Manning, the CEO of the hospital, Anderson, and he says that they're expecting up to 11.

One is very serious. The other two are serious. We saw those two come in. And they said they would have more information later.

I spoke to a woman who was a sister -- who was a friend of the wife of one of the victims. She gave me his name and information. Darwin Sanfield (ph). He's 28 years old, from Spring Glen.

COOPER: So the family has already been informed of that?

CARRILLO: I'm sorry?

COOPER: The family of that rescue worker has already been informed?

CARRILLO: Yes, yes, the wife is inside.


CARRILLO: There was a lot of family members. She described the scene inside. The cafeteria was full. They got a call around 7:00. When the call came in, they did not say what kind of event happened, but they said something happened, and there was a lot of people injured, and there was going to be some helicopters headed for the hospital, and as well ambulances needed up there.

COOPER: So Silvio, just trying to figure out an accurate number here. We know, according to the University of Utah hospital, one rescue worker -- injured rescue worker is onboard that Air Med helicopter already going en route to the University of Utah Trauma Center.

So at the hospital, where -- the local hospital, where you are now, do you know how many mine workers are there now?

CARRILLO: There are three here now. They are expecting up to 11. There is the possibility that one would go to Salt Lake. They'd be choppered to Salt Lake. They are -- they also said that they are expecting -- Mr. Manly said he expected a chopper here.

We were actually moved from an area we were at before because they are expecting a chopper to land. However I have not seen nor heard one.

COOPER: Silvio, I should tell you the public relations person from the University of Utah has said that one the choppers which is already en route to the University of Utah. The other one was on the ground just in case it was needed. So I don't know -- the last information I had was that that chopper was still on the ground, Silvio, just for your information, it may affect the way -- what you do in the next couple of minutes.

So right now, there are three rescue workers, victims of this incident, currently at the local hospital, but they are anticipating up to 11?

CARRILLO: Correct. One is in very serious condition. We don't know who that is. And the other two are in serious condition, and we don't know who they are either.

COOPER: So one is in very serious conditions there; the other two are in serious condition. And we don't know the condition of these other rescue workers who have been in some way been injured, correct?

CARRILLO: That's correct.

COOPER: OK. And the scene at the hospital as it was described to you, the families have -- they've been notified, thankfully, and they are gathered inside the hospital?

CARRILLO: Yes. There was a rash of cars headed here when we were on our way over here. There were several cars, the family members, we saw a few here, obviously fairly distraught, that had found out what had happened to their family member.

COOPER: Dennis O'Dell is I believe still with us -- or he's not. We'll try to get back with him.

Gary Tuchman is standing by.

Gary, I mean, for these families, this is -- and especially for families of rescue workers, I mean, this is the kind of thing I guess they know it can happen, but it is certainly the worst possible call you can get.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on the phone): Well, one thing I'm thinking about, Anderson, is we last week did two stories on the wife and mother of one of the miners. Jamison Ward.

Jamison Ward was the last person to escape the mine when the initial collapse happened. He had just left the other mines three minutes before the collapse happened. He got out. He's been every night going back, participating in the rescue. He's been scared to do it, but he's been doing it. And I talked to his wife, we talked to his mother, and they were very scared for him. They were also very proud of him.

And because we were in the mine around the same time about a week -- exactly a week ago -- at the same time. I'm pretty sure we know the people who were in the mine and know the people who were injured. I mean that's pretty much everyone who was in the mine that night. So from a personal standpoint, it's a very sad day for us.

COOPER: The -- we're getting some comments from Mine Safety Health Administration spokesman who says, just confirming that an accident occurred during the rescue effort at the Crandall Canyon mine at 6:30 Mountain time. At least nine rescue workers suffered injuries in the accident. At this time it's believed the accident was caused by a bump. We're in the process of conducting a headcount to ensure that everyone is accounted for.

Dennis O'Dell, United Mine Workers of America safety and health director, is on the line with us.

Dennis, I mean, it is certainly encouraging, at least, that it seems more organized certainly than the Sago situation. It seems like the rescue workers' families were called, it seemed very soon, not too soon -- well, relatively soon after the incident occurred and were told to go to the hospital? DENNIS O'DELL, UNITED MINE WORKERS OF AMERICA: Yes, that's correct. And that's one of the things we insisted on because it's so important that the family members know first about what's going on.

I can tell you -- and you saw it firsthand, Anderson, when we were at the Sago mine, the family members waiting in anticipation to find out. They need to know what's going on. So when we legislatively -- when we drew the language up for the Miner Act, one of the things that we insisted upon was that the family members be brought in, that there be somebody in place at the Mine Safety and Health Administration so that -- in the event that something like this were to occur. Those family members would be contacted and be brought to a location where somebody, an official, can talk to them and tell them exactly what's going on. Because sitting at home, wondering and worrying, seeing this on TV, I can tell you, there's probably family members whose husbands or brothers have been in this mine for rescue work, and they frantically are waiting to see what's going on. That's why this was put in place and it sounds like it's working.

COOPER: You know, Dennis, tell us about rescue workers. I mean, are these -- are these folks who are attached to this mine? Are they traveling to wherever they're need in terms of wherever there may be, you know, a situation that they need -- someone needs rescuing? How does that operation work? I seem to recall from Sago that they were people coming in from all different areas, all different mines who had special training as rescuers?

O'DELL: That's true.

You have mine rescue teams from various different locations at various different mines. And -- so you bring them in all over.

Some of them may be employees at that mine. That's one of the new things under the new Miner Act is that mine rescue teams should be made up of individuals that work at that particular mine. They're not always going to be able to have enough, depending on the -- on the size of the accident or what happened. So a lot of times, they like to bring other teams in from other places, but they're all very well- trained individuals.

COOPER: How long is the training for something like that?

O'DELL: Well, it's an ongoing training. It's something that they train and they keep training throughout the year. So -- so they have to keep up on, you know, they have to be in physical condition. They have to go through actual training -- exercise training. They'll do what they call MRD (ph) exercises, which is a mock disaster, in case of a situation like this. They keep their skills honed. So it's an ongoing training that they go through.

COOPER: And yet, I mean, you know, I've got so much respect for miners after Sago, just learning about them and talking to family members. But for rescue workers, it's, you know, it's doubly dangerous. They know what -- I mean, they're in a highly volatile situation. They're in a place where there's already been some sort of an incident, and yet, they keep going and showing up every day. O'DELL: Yes, it takes a rare individual to be a rescue worker. I can tell you, they're dedicated people. They're people with big hearts that care. And like I said before, they're individuals that put others ahead of their own lives. And you know, there's not a whole lot of people that can do that. But we have mine rescue workers that are willing to do that and thank God we do.

COOPER: Also joining us on the line is Bruce Watzman, vice president for safety and health of the National Mining Association. He's in Potomac, Maryland.

Bruce, as you're watching, what is going on as you're learning with us these bits of information. What are your thoughts?

BRUCE WATZMAN, NATIONAL MINING ASSOCIATION: Well, Anderson, needless to say, the entire mining family's thoughts and prayers go out to these rescue workers, their families and the original six trapped miners and their families.

This is an extremely difficult and trying time for the industry. And it points out some of the continuing challenges that we still have that were reflected last year in -- in the passage of the Miner Act by the Congress that we in that wholeheartedly endorsed and we still have challenges to meet the mandates of that act.

COOPER: Why is it -- I mean, I'm getting a lot of e-mails from viewers, saying, you know, why don't -- why doesn't every miner have a, just a location device. It seems almost -- you know, everybody on their cell phone seems to have GPS today. Why -- it seems like a simple thing. Why isn't that happening?

WATZMAN: Well, the difference is communicating through the air and communicating through solid ground.

The systems that we know of today require a backbone underground to support those systems. We don't yet have technology that will enable us to communicate, either voice communication or tracking through the earth. And that's a challenge that we and the mine workers and government researchers and private researchers are trying to overcome.

COOPER: Bruce, I appreciate you joining us tonight. No doubt, we'll be talking to you more in the minutes and hours and days ahead.

I'm hearing that Dan Simon has some new information. Dan's on the scene about two miles from the entrance to the mine.

Dan, what have you learned?

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, I've been told by a sheriff's deputy that there are still three ambulances on the scene. Those ambulances at the entrance of the mine.

We don't know if that means that perhaps some rescuers might be trapped and that they're trying to get out perhaps. We just don't know. But we know that there are paramedics on the scene. Three ambulances still down there, apparently waiting to transfer some additional victims.

And we've also been told that the governor of Utah is on his way out here from Salt Lake, and he should arrive in about an hour from now -- Anderson.

COOPER: So, Dan, from your vantage point, can you see all the ambulances as they make the road from the top of the mine to the hospital?

SIMON: Yes. We can see when they enter the mine and when they leave the mine. They basically -- there's only one road to get to the mine and it's right behind us. So when those ambulances leave, and we don't know when they're going to leave, we will be able to see them.

COOPER: So at this point, you have seen how many -- and you and other CNN personnel, have seen how many ambulances leaving?

SIMON: We have seen just three ambulances leave. We were told that six were dispatched to the scene, so that confers with the information that we're getting that there are still at least three down there at the moment.

COOPER: OK. And we saw a helicopter going overhead, I don't know, probably a half an hour or 45 minutes ago or so. Yes, that shot right there. That helicopter. That's -- as far as we know, that is the air-med helicopter which was returning to the University of Utah, correct?

SIMON: That's right. That helicopter left about 45 minutes ago. There was still a little bit of daylight when that helicopter left. And we're told that helicopter was transporting at least one victim.

And as you were reporting, there was a second helicopter here at the scene that could take as many as two victims to the hospital -- Anderson.

COOPER: Dan, appreciate it. Keep working your sources. I'm joined on the line now by Amanda Madrigal. Her brother and her father have helped out in the rescue operation.

Amanda, have you heard from your brother and your father?

AMANDA MADRIGAL, BROTHER, FATHER HELPING WITH RESCUE EFFORT (on the phone): No, I haven't heard from either of them.

My sister just called me and told me that there was tons of ambulances heading up there. And I'm just worried if they're OK or what's the situation right now.

COOPER: Well, I mean, I can tell you it seems like people who have been injured, their families have been notified. Because our people at the hospital -- the local hospital -- are telling us there are already family members, all of whom got calls. So it seems like -- I mean, there's a very -- your brother and your father are helping out with the rescue operation, and there are a lot of folks doing that, it seems like if -- you know, I'm just -- I mean, I don't know for a fact, but if something bad had happened, it seems like you would have been notified.

MADRIGAL: Right. I know I would have been notified, but it just worries me because I, you know, I live in Las Vegas, so it's not easy for me just to drive right there, you know, if something were to happen to my father or my brother.

COOPER: Of course. Have you talked to them about -- I mean, what it's like about -- you know, I was talking to Dennis O'Dell from the United Mine Workers of America, who was saying, you know, it's a special breed of person who -- you know, a miner is a special breed of person to begin with, but a miner who also works as a rescuer, it's, you know, it's a special breed?

MADRIGAL: Yes, well I -- I mean, sometimes, I'm reassured, because my father has been a miner more than 25 years. I don't want to say he's an expert, but he knows the mines in and out. And he's seen plenty of injuries. And some injuries have happened to him. But it's just knowing that those types of injuries happen all the time and that it's becoming like to the worst degree when it happens close to home.

COOPER: Yes. As a family member, how do you deal with that growing up, seeing your dad go off to work and then your brother entering the mine?

MADRIGAL: Well, growing up with my dad, you know, he'd come home with coal all over his face and his ears. And then when he'd come home injured, we'd wonder, well, how does he get injured. And as you grow older, you begin to understand how dangerous the coal mine is. I can't believe it's taken this long for it to get attention on it. There really needs to be something done to protect my father and my brother and the families, cousins, you know, people who are trapped. We really need something done.

COOPER: Have you talked to your dad or your brother in the last week, week and a half, just about this operation in particular, their thoughts on how it's going, on the difficulties they're facing?

MADRIGAL: Well, I spoke to my brother, he didn't say too much about it. My dad, he just said that it's long hours. And it's hard work. Just knowing that there's people's families trapped under there. The emotional part is the hardest part.

COOPER: I can't even imagine. Amanda, I know it's a difficult night for you, you know, not hearing information. And certainly, it's got to be comfort to know that at least the family members of folks who have been injured -- of the rescue workers who have been injured, at least they have been contacted. So I'm sure your dad and brother are at the scene just trying to do what they can.

MADRIGAL: Yes. I pray for those families that they have been injured. I pray for the families that are -- you know, their cousins, brothers, fathers are trapped. I'm just mainly concerned to get the safety issue resolved as soon as possible.

COOPER: Yes. I hear you. And it's the kind of thing -- and after the Sago incident, you know, there was a lot of talk, there was a lot of media attention. And frankly, then that just kind of dissipates, and it seems like not much has changed, as Dennis O'Dell was talking about from the United Mine Workers of America, from the safety and health director. It certainly, you know, it seems like these things keep happening.

Amanda, I know it's probably going to be a difficult night for you, but we appreciate you talking to us. And I hope we hear from your family soon. I hope everything works out.

We're going to probably try to check in with Amanda a little bit later on in the evening, or at least the morning, just to make sure everything is fine with her.

Standing by, Gary Tuchman, who spent a lot of time covering this story from the beginning. Remarkable coverage all of last week.

Gary, you -- you've heard a lot -- I mean, you've talked to a lot of miners' families. And there's a lot of prayers going out tonight from the miners' families.

TUCHMAN: Well, that's right, Anderson. I was just telling you about Jamison ward, the last survivor to come out of the mine after the Monday cave-in. And I just received a phone call while I was talking to you before, actually, on my call waiting. I picked it up and it was his cousin, Lisa Potter. And she was crying on the phone and said to me, do you know what happened to Jamison? Do you know what happened to Jamison? I felt so terrible. Obviously I can't tell her. I told her the same thing that you just said, that the fact that she -- you haven't heard anything is a good sign, that he's probably still working in the mine, and reminded her of one very important fact, that you can't use your cell phones in the mine. You can't even use your cell phones above the mine in that area. They don't work. There's no way to contact your loved one.

Nevertheless, it gives you an idea of the desperation right now of these relatives who just last week were just terribly sad for the other families, but elated that their loved one survived. And now they're going through the same -- what's going on again. It's just like an incredible nightmare.

One other thing, Anderson, I wanted to mention to you and this may be different than other mine rescues, but in this particular mine, all the rescue workers are employees of this mine -- 134 of them and they work in shifts. But all of the rescue workers are the mine workers from the Crandall Canyon mine.

COOPER: So it's not a case as it was at Sago where folks are coming in from other mines from other states. It's -- the rescue workers know this mine in particular?

TUCHMAN: Right. They have experts who are above the ground who are helping out. But the people in the mine doing this dangerous work for the last nine and a half days now are all employees of the mine. They've gone from mine workers at Crandall Canyon to rescue workers.

COOPER: We've just gotten some sound from a miner leaving the scene of this incident, of this collapse. Let's play that if we can.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was off duty. I had just finished my shift and was leaving the bath house when ConSpec (ph) and all of the bosses started yelling about a bounce that had happened and caved in mine. They knew about five miners that had been buried. And by the time we were leaving, one, they had in a truck and was beginning CPR.


COOPER: All right. There's actually more that he said. We're going to get to that portion of the tape, re-rack that and we'll get that to you momentarily.

Just crossing on the A.P. news alert, they say -- the Associated Press is reporting a final count has determined that nine rescue workers were injured. And I'm reading off my computer -- I apologize for that. Nine rescue workers were injured in the accident at the Crandall mine in Utah. This is according to the Mine Safety and Health Administration. They had earlier said 10 were injured.

Again, you know, it's early moments, and we often get this contradictory information. So these numbers could shift.

At the hospital we know that there are three victims right now at the hospital. One said to be in very serious condition, two in serious condition.

We also know that another person is en route to the University of Utah hospital. And in fact, they -- just judging by the clock and the amount of time they have to travel -- that's the helicopter taking that person to the University of Utah Trauma Center, the big trauma center in the area.

They -- that person should probably be there about now. It's about a 35-minute, 40-minute journey. And that helicopter left some time ago.

So we've got three people that we know of at a hospital. We've got one person in the helicopter or already at the University of Utah. So that is four.

We also know there is another helicopter -- at least it was on the ground at last check at the mine, and three ambulances, according to one official.

OK, we're told we're just getting in some new pictures. Literally, this is happening as I'm seeing it -- as you are seeing it. I have not seen these pictures before. Trying to figure out exactly what this shows. And I'm not exactly clear.

Gary Tuchman, I don't know if you can see these pictures. Do you know what this is?

TUCHMAN: Unfortunately, Anderson, I'm not (UNINTELLIGIBLE) right now, but I do want to tell you one thing about the circumstances of how they would get these gentlemen out of the mine.

It's at least a 25-minute to 30-minute ride from when they got injured to get out of the mine. The area where they are working to try to dig out their comrades is a three-mile small truck ride away. So they have to put them in this small truck and then drive for 30 minutes.

And that's one of the frightening things about being in this mine, especially during these mountain bumps, is that you know that the nearest exit is 30 minutes and three miles away and 2,000 feet, for that matter because they're working 2,000 feet below the earth. So it is not like they can just get them and get them out of the mine. They had to spend 30 minutes getting them out of that mine.

COOPER: I should point out that, you know, we're showing these pictures of the ambulances on wide shots. There are some pictures of much tighter shots of somebody being worked on inside an ambulance. We're just -- we're not showing them frankly, because I just think it's inappropriate. I just don't want some family member being able to figure out their -- see their loved one inside an ambulance being worked on. So we're kind of showing the wide shots as much as possible.

I know some other networks are showing other shots. But I just don't think it's appropriate.

It's, again, figuring out the numbers is difficult. We know, three people, at last count, according to the hospital, were at the local hospital. That picture we were showing before from Price (ph), I believe that is the local hospital.

One person is en route to the University of Utah.

But the final count was determined that nine rescue workers.

I'm told that on the line now we have Donnie Leonard, who was at the mine when the accident happened.

Donnie, what can you tell us, what did you see, what did you hear?

DONNIE LEONARD, EYEWITNESS: When I was at the mine, I was bleeding, and I could hear ConSpec (ph) yelling over the phone about a collapse that had happened in the mine and they had known about five miners that had been trapped underneath the new collapse. They had mine rescue teams running to get to the mantrips (ph) with their respirators. Very chaotic. The cops were getting the area cleared so that there was no obstruction toward people trying to transport those men out of there.

COOPER: How long -- how far away were the men in the mine, do you have any idea?

LEONARD: I do not know. All I know is that there was a collapse at the base. Base is at crosscut 126. I'm not completely positive on that. COOPER: OK. Well, we only want to you say what you know. So don't worry about, just you know, feel free to say what you don't know, it's absolutely OK.

You -- and did other miners then, rescue miners, come to the scene?

LEONARD: You know, this collapse happened about the time the crews were getting ready to switch over. The crew involved, I believe, was hot sitting, waiting for the other crew to arrive so they could leave to go home.

COOPER: And what was the scene like when word got out that this accident had occurred?

LEONARD: Well, people were running everywhere, getting all the stretchers and the supplies that they needed ready. People were waiting at mantrips (ph) so they could go in there and get these men out. We heard ConSpec (ph) talking about how they had one man onsite, giving CPR, on the way out of the mine.

COOPER: And I know you and your cousin offered to help, but they felt they had the people they need?

LEONARD: Yes. They said that they had all the trained personnel that they needed, and that we were just to sit tight and head home, get some rest, so we could get ready for our shift in the morning.

COOPER: You're a mine helper. How long you have been working at the mine?

LEONARD: Well, I've been working at Crandall for a couple of days. I've been in the mine since -- for about three weeks.

COOPER: So relatively new compared to some of these guys who have been there for a long time. What -- I don't want to ask how does this make you feel, because that's just a stupid question. But I mean, what's it like seeing this kind of thing for someone who is just, you know, just kind of starting in the business?

LEOONARD: It's scary. It makes you think about the career you've taken. And what you're going to do. You know, you got to think about what's going on around you and try to imagine how it's going to feel for these families when they find out this tragedy has happened.

COOPER: Well, yes, I mean you got to think it's just going to be a terrible night for a lot of families just waiting to hear how their loved ones and their friends and their neighbors are doing.

Donnie, I appreciate you taking the time to talk to us. Donnie Leonard, who was at the mine when the accident happened.

Gary Tuchman has been listening in as well.

Gary, you know, a young man just starting in the mines, seeing this, it's got to be a shock.

TUCHMAN: Well, Anderson, if what he said about crosscut 126 is accurate, it gives us some insight. Because crosscut 126 -- the crosscuts are basically the pathways that separate the sections. They began doing their work to clear the rubble at crosscut 120. Each crosscut is 130 feet; 130 times six is 780 feet. So basically, it was 780 feet if that crosscut number is correct, from where they started doing work.

So in other words, it was an area that had been caved in from last Monday. So it's been recaved if it is indeed at 126. The miners are believed to be at crosscut 137, which is about 1,400 more feet away.

So if what he's saying, 126, is right, that's important because that means it's a recave-in or collapse from what had happened last Monday.

COOPER: So that was an area that they had already passed through?

TUCHMAN: Well, that was an area that they may have just gotten to, based on the progress they've been making. But that is an area, that had -- cleared 780 feet closer to that. So in other words, they had gone 780 feet and it collapsed, so that it wasn't a new area of the mine apparently that caved in, it was an area of mine that caved in last Monday that they were just clearing.

COOPER: I see.

I'm -- and Gary, just hold on. I'm talking to our producers now. I don't know if we have a map that shows the various crosscuts because that might help. If we do have one, we'll try to put it up on the screen.

But Gary, just -- it's a little difficult to try to figure out without seeing a map, but if you can, to kind of lay it out for us, what the crosscuts mean and visually what it looks like.

TUCHMAN: Right. OK. Well, what it means is a crosscut is like an avenue on a street. The coal mine is like an underground city. And the crosscuts are like streets and they separate the sections.

And each section, at least in this mine, is 130 feet long. So from crosscut 120 to crosscut 121, you're talking 130 feet. When we were there, they were basically at crosscut 122 or 123, working to get towards 137, which is where they roughly believe the miners are.

So if this accident happened at crosscut 126, it was part of the mine that was under rubble. My understanding, Anderson -- you tell me if I'm wrong -- they had gone about 800 or 900 feet. So this is a part, it sounds like, if what this gentleman said is correct, it sounds like this is a part that they may have just cleared of rubble, rubble that has been there since Monday that has now had a recave-in.

COOPER: You know, a lot of information coming in in drips and drabs. And trying not to go down too far the road on speculation at all. Again, what we know, three folks are at the hospital right now. These are live pictures. We're just getting them in. Assuming those are family members.

Is this at the hospital? I'm assuming this is at -- OK, this is -- I'm trying to confirm exactly where this is. I believe this is actually near the mine site or at least near where reporters are allowed to be at the mine site, which is about two miles away.

One of those helicopters has returned to the University of Utah hospital. So we basically know that there are four people being treated in hospital settings at this point. Three at the local hospital. One in very serious condition. Two in serious conditions. A fourth person has been flown to the University of Utah Trauma Center.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta is standing by.

Sanjay, the importance of bringing someone to a high-level trauma center as opposed to a local hospital, obviously, it's pretty self- explanatory, they have better equipment?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (on the phone): They have better equipment. They have better resources. They have surgeons that are standing by, neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, doctors who can take care of traumatic problems.

It seems to indicate -- obviously there's a lot of speculation. It seems to indicate that it's more likely there was physical injuries here. I guess maybe we've come to that determination already. But physical injuries that might require a trip to the operating room. They might require transfusions of blood. They might require spiral CT scans, sophisticated scanners, Anderson, that can diagnose injuries very quickly.

A lot of those things are available in level one trauma centers, and they're readily available. Meaning, you don't have to call people in, they're usually -- all that staff is sort of standing by.

They often have operating rooms that are standing by with the equipment open, ready to go. So it's just a very -- it's a good place to be if someone has a critical injury.

I've heard you describe it tonight -- or someone described it to you as very serious. That could mean that someone's blood pressure is falling, that their airway has not been stabilized or something is happening that requires very urgent and emergent care. And a level one trauma center is the place you want to be in that situation.

COOPER: Sanjay, I just want to read to our viewers what the "Salt Lake Tribune" is reporting. And again, in a situation like this, we try to independently verify all the information before we announce it. If we cannot independently verify it, we will tell you the source that it is coming from. But again, this is not something we've been able to independently verify. The "Salt Lake Tribune" is reporting that a woman who is related to one miner and three rescuers says tonight -- this woman has told the "Salt Lake Tribune" that she has been told one person is dead and four are injured after a cave-in. She says -- her name, Debbie Ovason (ph). She said they just told to come to the hospital. Her son and two nephews are part of the rescue crew digging the fresh air tunnel. And I'm quoting, "They said there was cave-in and a miner was killed and four were injured." This is a woman telling the "Salt Lake Tribune." This is really a second-hand source. She was told that, she does not know that for herself, for her fact.

But that is the first -- any kind of indication that there may be a fatality involved. We simply don't know. We do know three people are in the local hospital. One person is at the Utah hospital. So that would verify what she says, that four people were injured.

But the local hospital says they are anticipating it could be as many as 11 people.

And then, of course, now from another source from the Mine Safety Administration, they say nine people were in some way injured.

Again, we don't know the level of the seriousness of those injuries. The fact that only four that we know of have been taken to a hospital setting.

Dan Simon is standing by.

Dan, have you heard any new information?

SIMON: Well, Anderson, we're now beginning to see family members show up here at the scene. We saw a woman and her daughter come here. Apparently, her husband works in the mine. She was very distraught, wants to know how he was doing. But she apparently learned that he is OK, that he was uninjured.

But just to give you a sense in terms of how people have been dealing with this in this community, you got to remember this has been going on for the last 11 days now. People who live here clearly on pins and needles, this is a very tight-knit mining community, mining -- the lifeblood of this particular area. So many people here work in the various mines. And so everybody is just so concerned about what had happened with these six miners and, of course, tonight, it only adds to the tragedy and to the misery that people have been feeling -- Anderson.

COOPER: The "Salt Lake Tribune" is also reporting that one of the ambulances that came down from the mine had its windows blackened. Again, don't really know what that means, but just another piece of information, trying to put all these pieces together in a way that is non-speculation, in a way that makes sense.

You're looking at pictures of mining families, taken several days earlier, as they awaited for news of their loved ones. Those of the six original miners trapped. But these are just some of the pictures we have been watching. These ambulances coming down the road, people being worked on inside those ambulances.

I'm just looking for the latest information. I'm told we have some new tape of some of the miners coming out of the mine. Let's take a look at that. Let's play what we have.


LEONARD: I was off duty. I had just finished my shift and was leaving the bath house when ConSpec (ph) and all the bosses started yelling about a bounce that had happened and a caved-in mine. They knew about five miners that had been buried and by the time we were leaving, one they had in their truck and was beginning CPR.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What else could you see in there? Were you seeing people pulled out of the mine?

LEONARD: No, we didn't actually get to see anybody pulled out of the mine. All we got to see was all the preparations and the rescue crews rushing in to get everybody out as fast as possible.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what about you, were you taken away from there, or were you allowed to stay there as this crisis was happening over there?

LEONARD: Well, me and my cousin offered our help, but they said there's nothing we could do, we weren't trained for the situation, so we should just head home and wait it out and get rest for our next shift.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, Don, you were saying that you were working there, you were off shift. Did you experience any commotion inside the mines this afternoon as well?

LEONARD: No, I was, you know, mostly just in the beltline doing stuff, like shoveling. I didn't really get that close to the face, since I'm not that experienced miner.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From what you were hearing this afternoon, there was no talk of other miners coming in, coming out, talking about bounces?

LEONARD: No, I was -- we just stayed busy. And when the shift was over, we left.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you were hustled out before any ambulances, before any of these workers were able to come out?

LEONARD: Yes. We were told just to go home and wait it out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This must be a tough experience for all of the rescuers out there, for those. How are you feeling right now, knowing that some of these folks are hurt because of the rescue attempts?

LEONARD: It just makes you think about what you're doing in life, and what can happen to you and money, how dangerous it is. And you're worried about all of those other people because of their families and what they're leaving behind, it's just really hard to think about it.


COOPER: That's Donnie Leonard, who we actually spoke to a short time ago. He was at the mine when the accident happened. He just started working at the mine about three weeks ago. And actually he just started working in mines three weeks ago. At this particular mine, I think just about a -- one week ago.

Again, the situation is very fluid. The information is at times contradictory at this point. The helicopter you're seeing was a helicopter which left the mine, going back to the University of Utah Trauma Center with one person onboard, according to that hospital.

According to the local hospital, there have been three people admitted to the hospital. Three people taken in one of these ambulances as well. Several other ambulances. That's perhaps the ambulances that had their window blacked out. I'm not sure what to read into that, other the windows were opened. You could see other people inside being worked on.

One relative of the miners has told the "Salt Lake Tribune" that she was told by people at the mine that one mine worker has died and that there are four other injuries.

We know that there are at least four other injuries because we know four people have been taken to the hospital. We do not have any word about any fatalities.

The local hospital has said they could anticipate up to 11 injuries.

You're looking at live pictures, as close to the mine as we were able to get, people gathering, waiting for information.

Thankfully, though, according to our producer at the local hospital, family members of those who have been injured in this latest incident have been informed and are at the local hospital.

All of us who covered Sago and all of us who know miners' families are, of course, concerned in this coverage -- in our coverage that we don't want to divulge any information or show some pictures which are going to -- we know there are miners' families watching right now, friends of the miners and rescuers who are watching right now. We want to be very respectful about the images we show. And the information, we want to make sure that it is correct.

Officials are saying, though, at least nine rescue workers have been injured in this latest incident.

And earlier, if you were watching, Chad Myers joined us with the actual chart showing seismic activity. I don't know if Chad is still on scene. If he is, we'll try to get that chart back up just to kind of show you. Actually, we may still have the image -- do we still have the image of the seismic chart? If we do, we'll try to give that to you, but you can see very clearly on the seismic chart that around 6:39 local time, mountain time in Utah, there was a seismic activity. And it was moments after that that the calls started to go out to family members that there had been an incident.

And at 7:00 p.m., a helicopter was -- two helicopters were called for by the -- at the University of Utah.

So clearly, the incident occurred sometime right immediately after the seismic activity, likely from several sources we have heard one of these mountain bumps.

Gary Tuchman, who is standing by with us, has actually experienced one of these mountain bumps when he went inside the mine. He is on the line with us.

Gary, what does it actually feel like? I mean, number one, what is a mountain bump and what does it feel like?

TUCHMAN: A mountain bump occurs, Anderson, when the pillars, the coal pillars that support the top of the mine experienced weight and they literally explode from the weight above.

There's a lot of weight above this mine. This is a very deep mine, particularly compared -- you when you're talking about Sago, you were talking about the miners being trapped about 200 feet below ground level. These miners are trapped 1,800 to 1,900 feet below ground level.

So there's a lot of mountain on top of it. So this type of mountain, and particularly mountains out west are vulnerable to mountain bumps. But it feels, Anderson, it does feel like an earthquake, which you would imagine an earthquake to feel like, I guess which is especially relevant now considering the other big story we're covering in Peru, talking about that.

But it's frightening in that way that you feel the mine shaking. And you can also feel like a -- it almost sounds like a concussion bomb that you would hear during a war. It just went boom. I shook. I thought coal was going to start falling down. That's how powerful I thought it was being in the mine.

Bob Murray, the owner of the mine, told us this was a relatively small one. But this is something they have been experiencing since this rescue has been taking place.

It's important to point out that there was a full two days -- if I'm not mistaken, Tuesday and Wednesday, where they stopped all activity inside the mine because they were getting so many of these mountain bumps, and it was considered too dangerous for the minors to be there. None of us pooh-poohed that. We realized that the mountain bumps were happening and that it was dangerous. These guys were taking risks. But now to hear this has happened, it really feels like a nightmare. COOPER: We're going to actually rack up Gary's piece. You're seeing images from -- some of the images that Gary had taken days ago when he got access to the mine. We're going to actually show you that piece in entirety. And in that piece, you will actually hear this mountain bump. You will hear it and get a sense of what it feels like, what it sounds like. Let's roll that piece.


TUCHMAN (voice-over): We entered the Crandall Canyon Mines with the same tunnel the six trapped workers went through.

A three-mile journey in a small truck. It would take about a half hour, in utter darkness. We passed rescue workers in their vehicles on the way to our ultimate destination.

BOB MURRAY, CEO, MURRAY ENERGY CORP.: Right there is where the rescue effort is going on.

TUCHMAN: This is as far as we could go. This is where the mine collapsed. The six trapped miners are believed to be tantalizingly close.

But with tons of coal separating them from us, this was an unusual opportunity to see how much work rescue workers still have.

You're looking at the effort to drill into the coal and rock to rescue the six men. The machine is called a continuing mining vehicle. It has a spinning drum on the front of it with blades. It cuts into the coal, rock and other debris that is mixed in from the mine collapse and then deposited on the back of what's known as a shuttle car, which can transport 12 tons of coal at a time.

The coal is sent on a conveyer belt outside the mine. And the process continues over and over and over again, far below the surface of the earth.

MURRAY: Where the damage is here, we're about 2,000 feet deep.

TUCHMAN: But the process had to stop for almost two days because of seismic activity that has shaken up the mine and made it too dangerous for rescue workers.

The work to get to the miners originally began at a different point of the mine.

MURRAY: We had this cleaned up 310 feet. The machinery's still in there.

TUCHMAN: But another shift in the earth caused another partial collapse. And the cleared area filled with coal again.

(on camera): Frankly, it's very eerie standing here knowing that 2,000 feet behind me and maybe less are the six trapped miners. It's cold. It's dark. It's foreboding. A claustrophobic can never cut in here. There's a steady wind blowing. The ceilings are low. We're 30 minutes away from the nearest exit.

In normal times it's very stressful, but right now there's a lot of tension. Nevertheless, the workers here, the rescue workers, the people who normally work in the mine, are calm because they have a job to do.

(voice-over): A reporter being allowed deep into a mine is very unusual, particularly in this situation. The mine owner says our visit had to be approved by federal authorities.

We were required to take a one-hour mining safety course before we embarked underground. And once underground, immediately came to grips with safety measures that are second-nature to miners.

Like periodically stopping to use mine telephones, to inform supervisors of your exact location. Our safety training was front and center in our minds.

When we heard a boom that shook our camera and the mine, startling workers and particularly us. The owner claimed it was another seismic event. One more he says and we have to evacuate.

MURRAY: When the coal breaks away from the rib and just kind of lays there, we call that sluffage (ph).

TUCHMAN: But there are no more.

We do see other damage to the mine walls, caused by the initial collapse. But it's the feverish work to rescue six men dead or alive, that stays in our minds.

MURRAY: This rubble could extend -- well, we know it goes 300 feet because we were up there. But it may go another 100 feet and stop and we can just walk up to the men. Or they may be right there.

TUCHMAN: Wishful thinking, perhaps. But it's keeping these rescue workers going.

Gary Tuchman, CNN, in the Crandall Canyon Mine, Utah.


COOPER: Gary joins us now on the phone.

Gary, the mine is cooler than -- you know, we think of mines as boiling hot. This one's actually pretty cool.

TUCHMAN: Yes. No, it's 58 degrees year-round. And the min workers joke. They say, why do you want to work above ground with the heat and humidity and insects when you can work underground in this cool atmosphere.

I will tell you, though, that the five of us, the journalists who were allowed in -- so you know, we provided pictures for everybody. It was a cool situation. So that was something that was very important. We considered it a rare experience to be allowed into the mine and a lot of them would have the pictures.

But the five of us who were in there were very cold by the time we got out because we were taking these 30-minute truck rides in each direction, the wind was blowing. And 58 degrees, when you don't have a coat on us, to us, not being prepared for it, was very cold.

And we asked the mine owner Bob Murray, I mean, is that dangerous for these miners, just maybe hypothermia, and he didn't seem to think so. He thought that the cold was something that wouldn't be a problem for them, particularly because they have water and hopefully ventilation too.

COOPER: Bob Ferriter, with the Colorado School of Mines, the Mine Safety Program, joins us now also on the line.

Bob, as you watch the coverage tonight, as you follow what has been transpiring, what's foremost in your mind?

BOB FERRITER, COLORADO SCHOOL OF MINES (on the phone): Well, Anderson, in my opinion, you know, these seismic events, you know, you have -- obviously, there has been a major amount of activity there over the last week or so. And you've opened up a lot of ground in there. And the ground is adjusting to the new stresses being placed upon it. And these events are going to continue to occur.

It's my experience that these things will probably go on for another month or so. There's no scientific way of predicting them. There's no scientific way of saying that they're going to happen next week or they're going to be big or bad or there's not going to be anymore.

The only thing that the rescue crews that are working in there can do is put in a massive amount of support in there to try to protect themselves so they can reach the trapped people and hope for the best.

COOPER: Bob, we're seeing a live picture of a helicopter taking off from the hospital which is the local hospital in Price, Utah, the local hospital there, where three of the miners have been brought.

I'm assuming, we know that helicopter had been earlier at the mine, assuming it brought somebody or some people to the hospital, but we're trying to find out exactly what the meaning of the helicopter was, if more people had been brought to the hospital. We're trying to get some comments from hospital officials.

We knew previously because of a hospital statement, there were three rescue workers who had been brought to that local hospital. One rescue worker had been brought to the University of Utah. The condition is serious and very serious of the three at the local hospital. We don't know the condition of the rescue worker onboard this helicopter.

This shot taken probably about an hour or so. That person is now at the University of Utah. There's no doubt about it, based on the amount of travel time.

Bob, if what you're saying is true, and there's no reason to doubt it, given what we've seen in the last week or week and a half, that these seismic events will continue, these mountain bumps will continue, that is certainly not good news for the rescue effort for the six miners who were trapped.

FERRITER: That's true. That's true, Anderson. And like I say, the rescue crews that are going in there, all they can do is put in a massive amount of support to try and control them so they can get back to them. But there's nothing to say that you're not having more cave- insurance back where those trapped people may be. So it does work against the trapped people.

COOPER: Now, we're seeing a map of the Crandall mine. Donnie Leonard, a young man who just started working at the mine, said that he had -- who was there when the accident occurred, said that he had heard it occurred around crosscut 126. Are you, Bob, that familiar with this mine to figure out exactly what that means, where it is?

FERRITER: Well, it would be back in the -- let's see, I believe that's the south mains, about where your red little balloon is. And crosscut 126, you would start the crosscut out near the portal somewhere, and count 126 to get in to where they think they were trapped. So that's a long way back. Way back in the mine.

COOPER: So it would take quite some time to -- I mean, any incident that occurred back there, it would take some time to get the people out?

FERRITER: Absolutely. Quite a bit of time.

COOPER: And how do you get people out? I mean, how do you get them in? How do you get them out?

FERRITER: Well, you would come through your main entries, which is the center part of your map there that you're showing on the screen. And I think there's about four of them in that mine. You would have a couple for your fresh air ventilation. You have a return entry that would take your contaminated air out. You have one for a coal vault to cake the coal out of the mine. They're really the life lines of the mine. That's the main vein. Everything has to come in and go out through those main entries.

COOPER: And Bob, in terms of training for these rescue workers, how involved is the training? How much -- I mean, do they -- do they have first-aid training so if a rescuer themselves get injured, the other workers with them can immediately start CPR, start any kind of medical work?

FERRITER: Yes. Everybody that goes under a mine has to have a certain number of hours of first-aid training. And then annually, once a year, you have a refresher course which gives you more first- aid training.

Now, there's some confusion between the rescue workers here and rescue teams. Rescue teams are prepared to go into a smoky, contaminated atmosphere and they would wear oxygen generating -- or rather, self-contained breathing apparatus. These people are trained to a higher level of first-aid. Some of them are even EMTs.

But most of the people that I have been watching in the videos, these are mine crews because this is more of a mine crew type of job rather than a rescue team.

So your rescue teams have a higher level of training in first- aid, but everybody has at least basic knowledge. So if there's an injury on the job, they can at least start first-aid right away.

COOPER: Obviously, it can make the difference between life and death in a situation like this.

FERRITER: Absolutely.

COOPER: What -- I mean, how tough is it in these conditions underground? Obviously, there's a lot of -- you know when you have your fellow miners trapped or missing, there's a desire on the one hand on rescuers to get there, you know, work around the clock, get there as quickly as possible, and yet you also have the need to do things safely. It's a fine line you got to walk?

FERRITER: It is. Your rescuers are obviously at risk. And you know, the training goes, that you know, you protect your rescuers, the number one priority. If you lose rescuers, you're never going to get your people out. It's a judgment call. And, of course, rescuers have a tendency to just go as quickly as possible. So management and the MSHA people that are with them should be looking at everything they do to make sure it's as safe as possible.

But everybody wants to get there and get the job done and get the people out. That's a normal human reaction. But somebody has to kind of put the brakes on and say, wait a minute, we have to put in more support so we don't get somebody injured.

COOPER: Bob, if you could, stay on the line with us. I want to show the scene at the hospital, the nearby hospital to this mine. A lot of families have gathered inside. The families have been notified, families of victims of this latest incident have been notified and are inside the hospital.

There are a lot of other people kind of milling around outside. I'm not sure exactly who they are.

According to KSL, Governor Huntsman is on the way to the hospital. He's expected there by midnight, Utah time. That should be in about one hour from now. Jeff Manly, the CEO of Castleview Hospital earlier gave a press conference. Let's just listen to the information he gave out.


JEFF MANLY, CASTLEVIEW HOSPITAL CEO: My name is Jeff Manly. I am the hospital administrator here at Castleview Hospital. And I don't have much of a statement, but I'm going to tell you what we know right now.

We have -- it's been reported that there has been either a bump or some kind of a collapse in the mine.

We have -- we've already had three miners brought to the hospital. We have four additional ambulances that are on their way, and we've been told that we have three helicopters on the way.

Two of the miners are in serious condition, one is in very serious condition.

And really at this time, folks, that really is all we know and that I can share with you. I cannot share any names. We've got the family sequestered in our cafeteria.

And right now, I'll take a few questions, but I need to get back in there and help, help with this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ...any worse condition or less condition? What's the condition? How many patients total?

MANLEY: We've heard there could be 11. That's all we know.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the rescue team?

MANLY: That came through our emergency room communications.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you confirm they are search and rescue miners?

MANLY: I cannot confirm that. I don't know that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does this shut down the rescue operations?

MANLY: No, of course not. But we have -- we are limiting people coming into the hospital.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can tell us what happened up there?

MANLY: I don't -- I wasn't there. All I know is I was told there was a bump and that's all I know.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do we know what time?

MANLY: I was called -- I was called at my home about 7:30.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're not saying that the rescue operation of the mine is continuing, are you?

MANLY: I have no idea. I'm not at the mine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Because you said of course not. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are there any fatalities?

MANLY: I don't know that yet.


MANLY: My chief nursing officer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is there an air-med helicopter that is expected to land with another patient?

MANLY: I -- I don't know that, but it would either be an air-med or something like that. Yes.


MANLY: We have three miners that we're aware of right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And how many additional victims, four?

MANLY: I don't know that. We've been told there may be up to 11.


MANLY: Absolutely.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will all of them come here? Will any be flown to Salt Lake, do you know?

MANLY: They probably will come here to be stabilized. If they're extremely serious and they're in a helicopter, they probably fly over our hospital.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Manly, can you talk about how you prepare for coal miner accidents? I mean, this is in your community. It's something you probably expect.

MANLY: Coal mine accidents of this magnitude are very uncommon. But we have -- occasionally we'll have a miner injured in a mine. Obviously, this has been a highly unusual circumstance for the coal mine industry here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do you prepare for this?

MANLY: Well, I mean, we run drills constantly. And the type of injuries that we typically see, they're typically trauma, broken bones, sometimes internal injuries, head injuries. And again, if they're serious head injuries, they probably would bypass us and go to Salt Lake.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So once again, how many...


MANLY: The families are being offered food and they're not much interested in food right now. They just want to know about their family members.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So how many do you have here? How many are in Salt Lake?

MANLY: We have three here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you're expecting up to 11?

MANLY: We've been told there may be up to 11.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What kind of injuries are we talking? Head injuries? Chest injuries?

MANLY: I just commented. They're typically trauma injuries. Could be broken bones, could be head injuries.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did you see visually though?

MANLY: I was not in the emergency room. I have not seen a miner.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you called in doctors who were on call?

MANLY: We've called in an additional emergency room physician and our surgical team on call is in the hospital.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are they still bringing people down the mountain?

MANLY: I don't know. We told -- we're told there may be four more ambulances coming.


COOPER: Standing by with us is Dennis O'Dell, United Mine Workers of America safety and health director.