Lost Time, Lost Lives in the MineWell, we are finding now that George Bush may not have caused the delay - or the disaster - after all. The Associated Press has this:
The haunting question from the deadly mine disaster in Sago, W.Va., last week becomes ever clearer: Why did it take nearly 12 hours for enough rescuers to gather so they could attempt their first descent toward the 13 miners trapped with limited emergency oxygen?
Warning signs have abounded in recent years. Yet ... a plan begun a decade ago to upgrade the mine rescue program was quietly scuttled by the Bush administration. The pro-company bias of the administration is itself a factor deserving full investigation if the inquiries now being promised are to have any credible effect. (link)
Deadly gases poured from West Virginia mine for hours after explosionSo. There was a legitimate concern for the safety and health of the rescue teams that brought about the decision to delay entering the mine.
By Vicki Smith, Associated Press
BUCKHANNON, W.Va. — Hours after an underground explosion, deadly carbon monoxide gas poured from the entrance to the Sago Mine at more than five times the level considered safe for humans, according to government documents released today.
The lethal gases were recorded by air-quality monitors a full two miles from the Jan. 2 blast that led to the deaths of 12 miners.
Documents posted today on the Web site of the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration offered more details about why rescue teams were prevented from entering the mine immediately after the accident [my emphasis].
Six hours after the explosion, the air monitors measured carbon monoxide, a byproduct of combustion, at 2,200 parts per million, more than five times the level considered safe for humans. The level peaked at 2,600 parts per million, before starting to drop, the documents said.
The first rescue crew entered the mine nearly 12 hours after the blast, but it took two days before the miners were found deep inside the mine about 100 miles northeast of Charleston. (link)
I expect we'll see corrections and apologies on op/ed pages around the country any day now.