Thursday, January 05, 2006

West Virginia Mining Tragedy – When Would You Have Told The Families?

I, like everyone in the country, have been watching the events around the West Virginia mining accident with interest, horror, and sorrow. The poor families who heard their loved ones were alive, only to find out later they were dead, how horrible must that have been?

Would you have done it differently? The erroneous report came out at 11:49 pm est that the miners had been found, and that 12 of the 13 were alive. But when I went to sleep at 2:15 am, the fact that only one of the miners had been gotten out of the mine and taken to a hospital made me more than suspicious. I knew it wasn’t normal, and worried that we had been misinformed.

At 2:30 the mining company told the families of the deaths, and it took another 15 minutes to get to the media and to all of us watching the situation. But the mining company knew earlier. Ben Hatfield, President of the International Coal Group, said that he heard that the miners may be dead from one of the drilling teams, around 12:15, but since he didn’t hear definitively, he didn’t want to crush the spirits of the families waiting for their loved ones to ascend from the mine.

For over 2 hours the people of Tallmansville, West Virginia celebrated while International Coal consciously decided not to quell their hopes. OK, no question this is not the popular opinion, but I think I would have done the same thing. Until they knew definitively that the miners were dead, how can you squash what little hope these people had. I would think the waiting would be the hardest part of the situation for family members, and while false hope is not good, is it as bad as no hope? In this situation, maybe not.

Posted by Scottage at 12:46 AM / | |