Maryland Rescuers Try to Reach Trapped Mine Workers

Maryland Rescuers Try to Reach Trapped Mine Workers

Rescuers are trying to reach two workers who have been trapped in an open pit coal mine near Barton, Maryland, since a wall collapsed two days ago, the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration said.

The wall, which was from 100 feet to 125 feet (30.5 meters to 38 meters) high, collapsed onto a shovel and a bulldozer at about 10:15 a.m. local time April 17 at Tri-Star Mining Co.’s No. 3 mine in Garrett County, trapping the operators of the machines, the agency said in a statement posted on its Web site.

Agency officials were on site at the time of the accident, finishing an inspection. There has been no contact with the two workers since the mishap, the MSHA said in the statement.

Trucks have been removing material from the site at a rate of as much as 3,500 tons an hour in an attempt to reach the trapped workers, and about half of the debris had been removed as of 11:50 p.m. last night, the administration said.

Concerns about instability led officials to blast away sections of the wall shortly after midnight last night, and rescue efforts resumed around 9 a.m. today, the administration said.

The mine is operated by closely held Tri-Star Mining of Barton, located about 81 miles (130 kilometers) southeast of Pittsburgh. A telephone message left by Bloomberg News this morning seeking further comment wasn’t immediately returned.

The mine has been operated by Tri-Star since May 1, 1986, and there have been 10 injuries and no fatalities at the site since 1995, according to administration data. The company has paid more than $3,800 in penalties to the administration for 61 citations since 1995.

There have been nine fatalities in the mining industry this year, including four from March 23 to April 5, and the mine administration is urging companies to speak to their employees about the accidents to prevent future incidents.

Administration spokeswoman Amy Louviere declined further comment when contacted by Bloomberg News this morning.

Information from:

Share this post