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UMWA says Crandall Canyon rescuers' deaths

August 17, 2007

United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) International President Cecil E. Roberts issued the following statement today:
“Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of the heroic victims of this latest catastrophe at Crandall Canyon Mine, and we pray for the full and speedy recovery of the miners still in the hospital.
“We salute the bravery of the mine rescue teams, who despite knowing the extreme danger of their mission still risked their lives by entering the mine. They put their own lives at risk in their determination to rescue their fellow miners. This is what they do and this is what they are, and we are grateful for their valor even as we mourn these losses.
“This disaster has only compounded what was already an immense tragedy. Making the situation much worse is the fact that all of these deaths were needless and preventable. The original mining plan appears to have been flawed, to say the least. In our opinion, that plan should never have been approved.
“Despite misleading and self-serving comments to the contrary, this event and the previous tragedy were not caused by an earthquake or some other act of God. These miners' lives were jeopardized because of the acts of men. It is the responsibility of the mine operator and federal authorities to ensure the safety of both those who mine the coal and those who attempt to rescue them. We must question whether they fulfilled their responsibilities at Crandall Canyon Mine.”

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