PRESS CONFERENCE WITH GOVERNOR JOHN HUNTSMAN, JR. (R-UT)
GOV. HUNTSMAN: (In progress) -- a tragedy to a catastrophe. The best thing that all of us can say at this point is to express love and sympathy and condolences to the families and the loved ones of those who lost their lives last night in a rescue attempt.
As I mentioned to a group earlier today, these men died as heroes. I can think of no better way to express your love for a fellow human being than to risk your life for someone else's as we saw last night. And as I mentioned to the families right down this road of the six miners trapped, the best way that we can honor their lives is to stay strong and to stay focused and to stay unified not only them as families, but we as a state, as we continue what is a rescue operation.
I want you to know that in recognition of our three heroes, rescuers last night I have ordered that our flags be lowered to half- staff in this state in recognition of those fallen victims. I also want to mention that we will do everything possible in this state when the investigation is undertaken to be a partner with MSHA. We have questions too, and we want answers to those questions. And we want to make sure that the lives that were lost last night were not in vain; that as a result of what we learn from this week and a half of pain, that we become better and smarter and safer not only here in the state of Utah, but indeed throughout the entire United States with a focus first and foremost on worker safety that must drive everything else.
Let me just tell you finally that I have been absolutely inspired and humbled by the solidarity, the strength and the resiliency of these families who have been anxiously awaiting news on their loved ones. They are an inspiration for all in this state and all who have been following this situation.
I know that Richard will get into an update on the investigation. But on behalf of all Utahns, let me just say that whatever happens as we move forward with this rescue operation, let us ensure that we have no more injuries. We have suffered enough as a state. Whatever is done above or below, and I don't know that much will be done below until we can guarantee worker safety, that safety be of paramount concern and importance as we go forward. As governor of this state, that's all I ask.
This is in the hands of the experts and the professionals and those who under statute are tasked with this kind of responsibility. But I also know that our state has suffered and that today, we grieve. And nobody is going to rest until we bring this to some sort of conclusion, not leaving any stone unturned or resource untapped in pursuit of that objective.