FRANKLYWNOW - Mine too unstable to keep digging

Mine too unstable to keep digging

HUNTINGTON, Utah (CNN) -- A panel of experts said the Crandall Canyon coal mine is so unstable that it would be "unacceptable" to resume digging through it to save six trapped miners.

Richard Stickler, director of the Mine Safety & Health Administration, delivers bleak news about miners.

Richard Stickler, head of the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration, said eight experts examined the condition of the central Utah mine and found "overwhelming" evidence that unpredictable seismic activity and unstable mine pillars make it too dangerous to continue rescue efforts.

The rescue effort was halted Thursday after three workers were killed and six injured in a cave-in.

But Stickler said if there is any indication the miners are alive, they would consider digging an opening down to them from above and try to get them out with a rescue capsule.

The device was used to haul nine miners to safety after a 2002 accident at the Quecreek Mine in southwestern Pennsylvania.

So far, crews have dug four bore holes into the mine, finding no signs of the miners and too little oxygen to sustain life. Video Watch why the mine owner is no longer optimistic about the rescue mission »

An emotional Bob Murray, the CEO of mine owner Murray Energy Corp., told reporters Monday night that rescuers have "not left a stone unturned" in trying to find the missing miners.

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