As hard as it was to go through the terrible day when the miners were caught, there’s new information claiming that the air packs that were supposed to save the lives of the miners malfunctioned:
Trapped deep below ground by poisonous gases, the Sago miners realized at least four of their air packs did not work, and they were forced to share the devices as they desperately pounded away with a sledgehammer in hopes of getting rescuers’ attention, the sole survivor says. Then, resigned to their fate, the men recited a “sinner’s prayer,” scrawled farewell notes to their loved ones, and succumbed, some as if drifting off to sleep.
“As my trapped co-workers lost consciousness one by one, the room grew still and I continued to sit and wait, unable to do much else,” Randal McCloy Jr. wrote to his co-workers’ families in a letter dated Wednesday and obtained by The Associated Press.
McCloy’s two-page typed letter offered the most detailed account yet of what happened in the mine after the Jan. 2 explosion. The blast killed one miner and spread carbon monoxide that slowly asphyxiated 11 other men 260 feet below ground as they waited in the farthest reaches of the mine to be rescued.
The air packs — referred to in the letter as “rescuers” — are intended to give each miner about an hour’s worth of oxygen while they escape or find a pocket of clean air. But at least four of the devices did not function, McCloy said.
“There were not enough rescuers to go around,” McCloy said. He said he shared his air pack with one man, and three other miners sought help from others.
Hopefully they will check out the other “rescuers” to make sure that those that work in those conditions have a safe backup plan.