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Hannity

Safety Violations Ignored at W. Va. Mine?

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," January 3, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

SEAN HANNITY: And this is a FOX News alert. Family members in West Virginia tonight were told just moments ago that one body has been found in a coal mine where 13 people have been trapped since early Monday morning. The search continues tonight for the 12 miners who are still missing.

We are rejoined by Dr. Holly Phillips. She's an internist at Lennox Hill Hospital. And we're talking, obviously, about the physical challenges these 12 remaining men would face.

And also joining us now is the attorney who represents miners who are injured on the job. Tim Bailey is with us.

I want to go back to you, Doctor Phillips, and specifically, time is clearly of the essence. We're heading into our 40th hour here. Sustainability, if they didn't have any food or water with them, how long can somebody survive, assuming that they were able to cordon themselves off?

PHILLIPS: Well, really, food and water should not be — is not their main concern right now. We're really worried about the air quality.

HANNITY: Air quality more than anything else?

PHILLIPS: But you know, the water, they could go for several days, three days, four days if they push it. And food most people can last for a number of weeks, in fact.

The issue is if the area is very hot where they are, then we worry about, you know, the fluid goes more quickly.

HANNITY: We're told it's pretty cold, though, in there.

PHILLIPS: Which is actually a good thing. That would help them.

HANNITY: Why?

PHILLIPS: They would lose less fluid through sweat and through other insensible losses in the body. And they'd be able to last a longer time without water.

HANNITY: Yes.

PHILLIPS: So it's actually good for them that it's cold down there.

HANNITY: All right. Mr. Bailey, thank you for being with us. I guess these really are questions we're going to have to ask later in terms of safety and other issues. I assume you'll be involved in that?

TIM BAILEY, ATTORNEY WHO REPRESENTS MINER: Well, I was just simply asked to come up. My firm has a long history of representing men and women injured in the coal mining industry. And certainly, there's going to be a lot of questions asked about the events that led up to those explosions.

HANNITY: If we look, for example, this past year, there were three mining fatalities, which was the lowest level, we're told, in the last five years. Obviously, there were safety standard issues at this particular mine, some 200 violations, I believe, in the last year. There had been a change of ownership from March that had taken place fully in November.

Are you concerned by some of the violations that have been cited throughout the last year?

BAILEY: Today, I had a chance to look at the citation history for the mine. Several of those citations were very serious. A lot of those citations are very relevant to the events of this tragic event. And they were very serious.

It's the difference between being warned and some of these go from what they call a section 104-A violation all the way up to a 104-D, which is where they basically tell them they have to stop production to make this area safe. And that happened 17 times in 2005 in this mine. That's extremely high for...

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Mr. Bailey, very quickly, it's Alan Colmes. You represent a lot of different kinds of possible injuries. How common is what we've heard, bad air levels, this kind of explosion? How common is this kind of an issue?

BAILEY: Well, thankfully, mine explosions are not a common occurrence here in West Virginia. So of course, and that's really a function of a coal operator doing the proper ventilation and monitoring. And that's what — those are some of the issues that will be looked at here in the next.

And don't forget, we want you if you're watching this and you have an eminent domain story to e-mail us to ItCouldHappentoYou@FOXNews.com. If you have a story of eminent domain abuse. ItCouldHappentoYou@FOXNews.com. We'll stay on top of this.

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