US Mine Safety and Health Administration spokeswoman Amy Louviere told ILN that divers’ efforts at the Robson Run impoundment were suspended Tuesday night because of difficulties cutting through the roof of the bulldozer cab, where the still-unidentified worker’s body was located.
“The divers are not working today [Wednesday] and plan to acquire different tools in order to attempt to cut through the top of the cab and extract the victim,” she said.
“Previously, they had attempted to cut a small hole in the top of the cab using torches, but they were unable to maintain an arc, and the water and slurry significantly inhibited the cutting process.”
Because of this, recovery experts said cutting through the submerged cab’s roof could take up to two more days.
Consol Energy spokeswoman Lynn Seay said officials were keeping close communication with the miner’s family.
“As Consol Energy has stated previously, this is a complex recovery effort that requires precision and time to execute safely and properly,” Seay said.
The company added in a statement on social media Wednesday: “We remain cautiously optimistic that the short-term recovery effort will succeed”
The dozer and its driver, who has not been name at his family’s request, were swept into the slurry pond at the Robinson Run mine site in Harrison County after an embankment failed.
Two other workers operating pickups also went into the dark, deep waters of the impoundment, but escaped without serious injury.
Company, state and federal investigators are still looking at the cause.