adBlockCheck

57 Lawmakers Feared Dead In Senate Mine Disaster

Top Headlines

Politics

Diehard Trump Voters Confirm Rest Of Nation Should Stop Wasting Time Trying To Reach Them

‘If Anything Could Change Our Minds, It Would’ve Happened By Now,’ Say Candidate’s Supporters

WASHINGTON—Saying it should be very clear by now that absolutely nothing can change their position on the matter, steadfast supporters of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump told the rest of the nation Wednesday that it really shouldn’t bother trying to persuade them not to vote for him.

Tim Kaine Found Riding Conveyor Belt During Factory Campaign Stop

AIKEN, SC—Noting that he disappeared for over an hour during a campaign stop meet-and-greet with workers at a Bridgestone tire manufacturing plant, sources confirmed Tuesday that Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine was finally discovered riding on one of the factory’s conveyor belts.

Why Don’t People Like Hillary Clinton?

Although she’s secured the Democratic presidential nomination, many voters across all demographics are still hesitant to vote for Hillary Clinton. The Onion breaks down the reasons Clinton is having a hard time luring reluctant voters.

Who Are Donald Trump’s Supporters?

As Election Day draws near and GOP candidate Donald Trump continues to retain a loyal supporter base, many wonder who these voters are and what motivates them. Here are some key facts to know

How Trump Plans To Turn His Campaign Around

As Donald Trump’s poll numbers continue to fall, many wonder how the GOP presidential nominee can turn his campaign around before Election Day. Here are some ways Trump aims to regain his footing

‘Why Can I Never Seem To Say The Right Thing?’ Weeps Trump Into Pillow

NEW YORK—Quickly running into his bedroom and slamming the door behind him after hearing public criticism of the statements he made regarding the family of a fallen Muslim-American U.S. Army captain, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump reportedly threw himself on his bed Tuesday and asked himself “Why can I never seem to say the right thing?” while weeping into his pillow.

Trump Campaign Ponders Going Negative

NEW YORK—Saying they weren’t afraid to take the gloves off for the general election if need be, the campaign team for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump reportedly considered the possibility Monday of pivoting their strategy and going negative.

What’s Inside Trump’s Tax Returns

Donald Trump’s aides have confirmed that the Republican presidential nominee will not release his tax returns despite numerous public calls for him to honor the expectation of transparency for presidential hopefuls. Here are some of the potentially damning contents that Trump prefers not to release to the public

Hillary Clinton Holds Infant Grandson Upside Down By Ankle In Front Of Convention Crowd

‘Family,’ Candidate Says

PHILADELPHIA—Seeking to make her case to the nation’s voters as she accepted her party’s presidential nomination Thursday night, Hillary Clinton reportedly began her headlining address at the Democratic National Convention by holding her infant grandson, Aidan, upside down by his ankle and firmly intoning the word “Family” in front of the assembled crowd.

Hillary Clinton Waiting In Wings Of Stage Since 6 A.M. For DNC Speech

PHILADELPHIA—Saying she arrived hours before any of the members of the production crew, sources confirmed Thursday that presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has been waiting in the wings of the Wells Fargo Center stage since six o’clock this morning to deliver her speech at the Democratic National Convention.

Depressed, Butter-Covered Tom Vilsack Enters Sixth Day Of Corn Bender After Losing VP Spot

WASHINGTON—Saying she has grown increasingly concerned about her husband’s mental and physical well-being since last Friday, Christie Vilsack, the wife of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, told reporters Thursday that the despondent, butter-covered cabinet member has entered the sixth day of a destructive corn bender after being passed over for the Democratic vice presidential spot.
End Of Section
  • More News
Up Next

57 Lawmakers Feared Dead In Senate Mine Disaster

WASHINGTON, DC–Hopes of finding more survivors of Monday's Senate Mine disaster are fading, as a second full day of rescue efforts proved futile Wednesday.

The body of a senator is carried from the disaster area.

In all, 57 legislators remain buried deep within the Senate Mine, the southern shaft of which collapsed without warning at 7:57 a.m. Monday. Rescue workers say the likelihood of finding survivors is slim.

"The area where the senators were digging is one of the narrowest in the entire mine," said Tom Asheton of the Red Cross. "We know for sure that the passageways on both sides of the corridor were sealed off in the initial blast, so the senators probably ran out of oxygen sometime yesterday afternoon. We'll give it another go first thing tomorrow morning, but at this point, it doesn't look good. Lord help those brave lawmakers."

Asheton then called upon all Americans to pray for the senators.

At 7 a.m. Monday, as they do every week, the nation's 100 senators donned their lantern helmets, took up shovels, and descended the main shaft by rope elevator to excavate the rich seam of coal recently discovered in the mine's Great Southern Drift. Congressional Mine Record transcripts of intercom communications indicate that operations were proceeding smoothly, with drill operators encountering no more than the normal resistance from rocky occlusions, when a sudden rumbling was heard.

"From way down the shaft, I could hear [Sen.] Judd [Gregg (R-NH)] shouting, 'The pilings! The pilings!'" said senate majority foreman Trent Lott (R-MS), whose leg was badly contused by falling mine tailings and who had to be restrained by aides from reentering the mine to save his colleagues. "Then there was this incredible roar, and all the lamps blew out. I remember thinking, 'Please, God, no: There's still so much important legislation to pass–and coal to dig.'"

Senate majority foreman Trent Lott (R-MS) talks to reporters shortly after the mine collapse.

At 8:08 a.m., the mine whistle on the Capitol dome sounded the emergency warning. Within minutes, senators' loved ones began assembling at the mine's entrance to watch rescuers going about their grim work. One after another, the grimy, blue-suited bodies of senators were dragged from the mine.

"These are brave men," said Lott, his face still blackened with soot. "Despite our ongoing bipartisan struggles, with the Democrats arguing for shorter hours down-shaft and Republicans supporting less restrictive mining regulations, there has been nothing but brotherhood today."

The cause of the mine's collapse remains unknown. No smoke or heat has been detected emanating from the shaft, ruling out the possibility that a hammer-drill struck sparks and ignited the abundant coal dust that fills the senatorial chambers.

Senators who had been working in the mine's central shaft say oxygen levels were normal. They also noted that congressional pages positioned in the mine to monitor air quality were chatting happily just seconds before the disaster. Survivors' accounts seem to point to a straightforward collapse, which, experts note, is an ever-present danger when legislators excavate in the wet rock near the Potomac.

"Of all the industrial ventures run by the federal government, the coal-mining operations of the legislative branch have always had the worst safety record," said Cliff Stephney, president of the United Senatorial Mine Workers of America. "Just last year, we almost lost the entire Senate Armed Services Committee when the hay bales they feed the cart-horses 'down the hole' somehow caught fire."

Stephney noted that Supreme Court & Southern Railroad brakemen, statistically the second most dangerous job in American government, had a 17 percent better chance of seeing retirement without injury.

Unsafe as congressional mining may be, few other options are available to unskilled elected officials.

"Every year, we say we're going to pass laws that make our jobs safer," said senator and rock hog Mitch "Mule" McConnell (R-KY), who has the distinction of surviving both Monday's collapse and the infamous Library of Congress Foundry Explosion of 1999. "But when a man gets down to voting, he remembers how much he owes to the Capitol store, and that's usually the end of that. I mean, times being what they are, a senator can't really afford to just cash out and risk starving his family."

"Boss Thurmond always says there are tons of immigrants right off the boat who aren't afraid to serve a six-year term in elected office hauling out the coal," said Sen. Russell "Rusty" Feingold (D-WI). "I hate it like poison, but as soon as we get the slag out of that drift, I know I'm back to the shaft again."

In a nationally televised address Tuesday, President Bush paid tribute to the lost senators.

"We pray for the souls of each of these brave men, and we humbly thank them for toiling to provide our nation with badly needed laws and coal," Bush said. "We are with their families in their time of grief and promise a full congressional investigation just as soon as the mine–and Congress itself–can be reconstructed."

Sign up For The Onion's Newsletter

Give your spam filter something to do.

X Close