Authorities were to meet Wednesday to discuss billing somebody for the costs of a 12-hour search through mountain rock for a mystery man believed trapped in a cave-in.
"Somebody's gotta pay for it," Duchesne County Sheriff Clair Poulson said late Tuesday.A man known only as Danny, whom mine owner Barney Powell said he picked up at a Salt Lake soup kitchen, was believed trapped in the rubble of a cave-in at a gold mine, about 15 miles northeast of Tabiona.
About 50 searchers spent six hours digging with their hands through the rubble for the man, Poulson said.
A bulldozer was brought in by a volunteer to dig through rubble. Poulson said searchers cut a 10-foot-deep and 25-foot-long trench to look for the missing man but found only solid rock.
"That's a terrible, terrible hill and on top of that it rained so hard I've never been so miserable in my life," the sheriff said, adding volunteers were dressed for summer weather when a rainstorm came in, hail began showering down and the temperature plunged to the mid-40s.
Crews quit at 9:45 p.m., 12 hours after they started.
"So the mystery is: Where is he? Or was he ever there?" Poulson said.
Sheriff's Cpl. Jack Bird said the report "looks like it was a hoax. There's no one in there - nobody."
Powell, 80, Salt Lake City, reportedly has been prospecting in the hills for five decades.
"We had hosts of people up there and lots of machinery," Poulson said. "Somebody has to pay the bill."
"I'm going back up in the morning. We're going to close the mine and close the road, and the Forest Service is going to sit down with our attorneys and see about paying the bill."
Poulson said the Forest Service and sheriff's office agreed that the search was necessary - and miserable.
"But we're convinced now there's not a man down there and there wasn't a man down there. But the mystery remains - where is he?"