Rescue Continues For Utah Coal Miners

By Andrew Colton, ABC News | 

The promise of finding six trapped coal miners alive is beginning to fade, although some at the scene remain adamant that there's no reason to give up hope, yet.

While the first air quality tests taken 1800 ft. below ground in the Crandall Mine were good, three more tests were not.

Dashing hopes that the miners could have survived, miraculously caught in an air bubble.

"Normal oxygen is 21-percent roughly. Once you get down to 15-percent you start having effects and 7.5-percent would not support life very long," said Richard Stickler, with the Mine and Safety Health Administration.

Rescuers drilling a hole, just two-inches in diameter, broke through in the pre-dawn hours. They tested the air and dropped a microphone hoping to hear even faint noises, or signs of life.

But roughly 10-hours later hearing nothing, they gave up. Still, the rescue goes on.

"There's no reason to lose hope. There are still certainly possibilities that these miners are still alive because we don't know for sure where this bore-hold drilled in," Stickler explained.

Now attention turns to a high-resolution camera to be dropped through a new, wider hole after a drill breaks through Aug. 10, possibly answering the question--is there any chance the six miners survived the Aug. 6 cave-in.

What seemed to be certain just hours ago no longer is. Officials here question if they do know exactly where the miners are or if they could have sought safety in another part of the mine.

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