2:39pm

Thu April 21, 2011
The Two-Way

Still No Sign Of Missing Silver Miner At Site Of Idaho Cave-in

Here's a quick update on the search for 53-year-old Larry Marek, who has been missing more than a mile underground since a cave-in last Friday at Hecla Mining Company's Lucky Friday silver mine in Mullan, Idaho:

-- Workers are blasting through solid rock to reach the area behind the cave-in.

-- They've progressed 90 feet since Monday night, but have 130 feet to go.

-- A second rescue tunnel is proposed.

-- Two small boreholes have been drilled from two different directions into a "void" behind the cave-in.

-- A tiny, high-resolution camera with limited scope has been inserted into one bore hole but has detected no sign of life. The camera was borrowed from Roto-Rooter in Spokane, Washington, and is usually used to spot cracks and blockages in plumbing.

-- The boreholes are being used to pump in fresh air.

-- A third borehole is now being drilled into the void behind the cave-in. Rescuers hope the boreholes will help them determine the size of the void.

-- It's still not known whether Marek survived or was injured in the cave-in.

-- Temperatures underground are reported to be in excess of 100 degrees F.

-- Hecla Mining promises an update at 7 p.m. ET.

-- Hecla is posting updates here on its website.

-- Hecla has posted a new set of sketches here showing a rough cross-section of the mine, a top-down view of the caved-in area, boreholes and rescue tunnels, and a depiction of the abandoned attempt to dig through the cave-in debris.

Sources: Mine Safety and Health Administration; Hecla Mining Company; Associated Press. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.