Hope all but extinguished at Utah mine

HUNTINGTON, Utah (AP) - The rescue option of last resort at a Utah mine may be too dangerous to attempt.

A mine company attorney says safety experts believe the mountain where six miners are missing is too unstable to allow drilling a bigger hole and sending in a rescue capsule.

Underground tunneling was suspended last week after three rescue workers were killed and six others injured.

Mine officials raised the possibility yesterday that the rescue effort could be abandoned, and that the missing miners might never be found.

But the company attorney says there's been no decision yet to call off the search.

A rescue capsule was used in 2002 to lift nine trapped miners from a flooded mine in Pennsylvania. But those miners were only about 230 feet below the surface. The Utah miners are about 1,500 feet underground.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)