HUNTINGTON, Utah – Rescuers found no signs of life Saturday after drilling a fourth hole into a collapsed mine where six workers have been trapped nearly two weeks, a disheartening blow in a rescue effort that has killed three other people.
A microphone lowered into the new hole revealed nothing to indicate that anyone was in the cavern, and attempts to communicate with the miners by tapping on a drill bit yielded no response, a federal official said. A video camera was being lowered into the hole overnight.
Underground tunneling had been halted after a mountain "bump" Thursday killed three rescuers and injured six others. Officials had hoped a fourth hole drilled into the mine would finally offer clues to whether the men were alive 1,500 feet below ground. Instead, the results were the same as the three previous tries.
"We did not detect any signals from miners underground," said Richard Stickler, head of the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration.
Stickler said a fifth hole was planned.
Crews spent at least four hours beating on the drill steel and setting off explosives to try to get the miners' attention, he said.
Rob Moore, vice president of Murray Energy Corp., co-owner of the Crandall Canyon mine, remained optimistic.
"Make no mistake about it: This continues to be a rescue effort," Moore said. "We have encountered setbacks. We've incurred losses, but we have not and will not give up hope."