EMTs recall grueling days of Utah mine disaster
By Mike Gorrell
Salt Lake Tribune
Copyright 2008 Salt Lake Tribune
HUNTINGTON, Utah — Emery County EMT Pete Alger had no idea that such a disaster was unfolding when his pager went off about 3 a.m. on Aug. 6.
When his ambulance crew reached the Crandall Canyon mine a half-hour later, there would be no patients to treat. When it finally became apparent six miners were trapped underground, the prolonged rescue effort would test Emery County's volunteer ambulance corps.
His faith in his fellow EMTs would only grow when the worst-case scenario happened 10 days later, killing three rescuers and injuring six. That trust was personified by Sue Copinga, a 62-year-old widow and grandmother of 19 who didn't hesitate when called into the mine's depths to treat the victims.
Alger and Copinga are among hundreds of people - miners, deputies, equipment suppliers, store owners, drillers, everyday folks - who rushed to help in Utah's worst mine disaster since 1984, when 27 died in a fire at the Wilberg mine.
Full story: EMTs recall grueling days of Utah mine disaster