Miner Jim Bennett Leaves Account of being trapped.
This note according to family the first entry was at 11:40 am Monday. That would be about 4 hours after the blast. The consists of three or four entries with the last one at 4:25 pm about 10 hours after the explosion. A familiy member told the AP
``Each time he documented, you could tell it was getting worse,'' Ann Merideth told The Associated Press. ``Later on down the note he said that it was getting dark. It was getting smoky. They were losing air.''
The first rescue team did not enter the mine untill 11 hours after the blast. This raised some questions with the familiy. While the note provided comfort for the family, it also brought anger. Bennett's daughter said
"the note left her with comfort, but also anger that her father could have been alive and lucid for a long enough time to be rescued."
This question of how long it takes to start the rescue will be an issue to many. The fact that Sago did not have a rescue team troubled some people. Not all mines have rescue teams. Even if they had, they could not enter the mines as MSHA takes charge of the whole show once the report is made. The laws and rules of rescue will be scrutinized. In the end, nothing will change. You cant just charge down in the mine after the explosion hell bent to rescue. Here is what a former employee of MSHA said
- Tony Oppegard, a former MSHA official who has worked in mine safety for 25 years, said Bennett's note points out the need for miners to have oxygen systems that can last longer. He added that the miner's timeline suggests that the barricaded group found a pocket of clean, usable air that would have allowed them to use their oxygen systems only intermittently.
- And while he understands concerns by families that the rescuers didn't move faster, Oppegard said rescues are very dangerous and have to be done with "all deliberate speed." In 1976, 11 rescuers died when there was a second mine explosion in Letcher County, Ky.
There is so much to consider that most people dont understand. You cant risk the rescue teams lives or chance setting off another blast. One thing that I see as positive is that maybe the whole country will see and respect what coal miners and coal companies face every day. They are a special breed.