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Question about the mine disaster...

From what I've been hearing, there seem to be no telephones or communications devices that the miners could use to help the rescue. Why is that? Is it too dangerous to have any electronic devices in the mines? Shouldn't the airtight chambers have some kind of communications at least?

http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/04/06/west.virginia.mine.explosion/index.html?hpt=T1

By early Tuesday, nine rescue teams had arrived on-site. Their goal was to race toward the mine's internal rescue chambers where miners are trained to seek refuge after an accident. However, the buildup of methane and carbon monoxide forced their withdrawal.

Such airtight chambers -- put in place following several deadly mining accidents in 2006 -- are stocked with enough food and water to enable workers to survive for four days.

Crews noticed that a number of breathing devices had been taken from storage areas inside the mine.

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Partial answer...
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/06/us/06westvirginia.html

The explosion destroyed all communication lines inside the mine, but Mr. Stricklin said that if the miners reached the rescue chambers, they would find enough food, water and air to allow them to survive four days.

Seems like there should be something more.
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Yeah

Just a steel rod driven into such chambers from topside would at least allow communication with Morse code with nothing more than a rock to strike it with. Enabling communication can be primitive and still be of value in the circumstances these men face now.

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If they were going to drive a steel rod (in advance)

why not run some wires down the pipe and an air line?

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Yeah, they could do that....

I was simply pointing out how primitively a system of communication could be implemented. If there's miners trapped in survival areas they should have a means to communicate, even if it's just a pipe to beat on with a rock.

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I think this is how.

I suspect that the shafts are too deep for wireless, and the roc is too dense.

Care is taken, or is supposed to be, re: electrical lines. If I recall correctly, only portions of the mountain will have electricity. II didn't grow up that far from coal country.)

When they drill rescue shafts they lower 2-way microphones for communication and listening, cameras (how they learned the breathing apparatus had been moved) , and air hoses.

Each miner has individual lighting on their heads (used to be carbide- might still be) that lasts a long time. They carry their lunch/supper. Cold adds to the problem and sometimes water.

Remember the tragedy in PA? Reassures could hear tapping for quite some time.

Also adding to the problems is the very poor safety record of the owner of the mine. Those guys just aren't punished enough. Apparently the 2 illion dollar fine didn't make an impression. The miners need the work, the communities need the mones.

Angeline

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