Hopes were fading on Monday (8 May) for the rescue of 58 trapped miners at the disaster-hit Sunshine Silver Mine in Kellogg, Idaho.
Hopes were fading on Monday (8 May) for the rescue of 58 trapped miners at the disaster-hit Sunshine Silver Mine in Kellogg, Idaho. Fierce heat drove back rescue teas searching for the men, who were imprisoned a mile (1.6 kms) along an underground tunnel when fire swept the mine last week, killing 35 men. Power and ventilation difficulties added to the rescuers' problems. In addition, it was reported that the smokes and fire inside the mine had increased.
Monday's problems delayed the lowering of a manned "torpedo" 1,100 feet (330 metres) down a ventilator shaft to where the miners are trapped. The occupants of the two man capsule were then going to move along the tunnels to see if any of the trapped men were still alive. A television camera lowered earlier showed that the shaft was clear.
Mine Manager Marvin Chase said he was most concerned about a break in a compressed air supply which it was hoped would provide a lifeline for the trapped men. Air pressure was sharply reduced as a result. Mr Chase then had the grim job of telling waiting relatives that chances of survival, since the air supply had been broken, were lessened.
The manned "torpedo" the rescuers were trying to use is seven feet (two metres) long and was loaned by the Atomic Energy Commission, who use it t check on boreholes in underground tests. The capsule carries two man, one standing above the other.
Trouble continued to plague rescuers later on Monday when the capsule was hauled to the surface after getting only 150 feet (45 metres) down. Stones had blocked the narrow ventilator shaft, defying efforts by rescue workers to clear them.
And on Tuesday (9 May), pessimism again swept the relatives at the mine entrance. Many of them had been waiting for six days with no indication that the men were even alive.