Ask anyone who has trained for a crisis: it’s something you hope you never need.
So when Murray Energy first heard that its Utah coal mine had suffered a catastrophic collapse on Monday, trapping 6 miners 1500 feet under the ground, they presumably put their plan in action.
We saw the first phase, when Murray Energy founder and chairman Robert Murray followed Crisis 101 and rushed to the scene, dutifully taking center stage as the point man for the company.
And then he promptly dropped the playbook, started arguing with scientists as to the cause, and with reporters as to the type of mining methods used (see below):
(Here’s the link if you don’t see the video player).
The part about referring to certain people as “lackeys for the United Mine Workers” was particularly bizarre; he elaborated further yesterday about potential causes:
“This was caused by an earthquake, not something that Murray Energy … did or our employees did or our management did,” an irate Robert E. Murray, chairman of mine owner Murray Energy Corp. of Cleveland, said at a televised news conference. “It was a natural disaster. An earthquake. And I’m going to prove it to you.”
I was always taught three main things to say in a crisis; and they go something like this:
1. We are saddened by these tragic events and our thoughts and prayers go out to the workers involved and their families.
2. We are very concerned about the safety of our fellow employees and rescue personnel and we are doing everything possible to bring everyone out safely.
3. We are cooperating fully with regulatory authorities, and will not comment on potential causes until we see the results of a complete investigation.
1, 2, 3. Rinse, lather, repeat.
I hope these workers manage to survive and admire the courage of rescue personnel and the fortitude required to be a family member of a coal miner.
My empathy goes out to those who are charged with advising Mr. Murray. What do you say to the founder of a company after a news conference like that when he asks: “Well, how do you think that went?”