Another mine accident; This one in IndianaWALB-TV - Albany,GA,USA
August 10, 2007
Update, Fri 12:50 pm:
Police say noone else was trapped or hurt during the Gibson County Coal mine accident.
Gibson County Coal officials tell us the men killed were not employees of the coal mine, but worked for a construction company called Frontier-Kemper.
We have a crew on the scene and will bring you the latest as it becomes available.
Update, Fri 12:35 pm:
Three people were killed at the site of an air shaft under construction at a mine in Gibson County.
Princeton Police Detective Mike Hurt says the people who died were in a "basket" used to transport people up and down a 600 foot air shaft, but could not confirm if they fell.
Police say crews are working to remove the bodies at Gibson County Coal. The accident occurred about 11 a.m. Central time.
Police say no one else was trapped or injured. He says the coroner is at the scene and was the only one who could release further details.
Fire crews, police and others are at the scene northwest of Princeton, about 30 miles north of Evansville.
Update, Fri 12:25 pm: Gibson County coal officials tell 14 News the three people killed were not employees of the coal mine, but were employees of a construction company from North Carolina.
We have a crew on the scene and will bring you more information as it becomes available.
Update, Fri 12:15 pm: According to the Associated Press, Police say three people have been killed in a mine accident in Gibson County.
Previously: Sources tell 14 News that there's been mine accident at a Gibson County coal mine in the area between Princeton and Mt. Carmel. The coroner has been called to the scene.
A posting from our content partner, Tri-State Media in Princeton, says that the coroner was called to the scene just before 11am CDT. It says the accident happened at an air shaft construction site belonging to Gibson County Coal.
___________________________________________________________United States Mine Rescue AssociationThree killed in mine accident in Indiana
August 10, 2007CHICAGO (Reuters) - Three construction workers were killed on Friday while digging a shaft for an underground coal mine in Princeton, Indiana, authorities said, the second serious accident at a U.S. coal mine in less than a week.
"There was an accident with fatalities," said Bob Pond of Frontier-Kemper Constructors Inc., which was drilling a new shaft for the Gibson County Coal mine.
The deaths were not caused by an explosion or cave-in, a police detective told CNN.
"Three fatalities are confirmed," Detective Mike Hunt said by telephone. "We're not sure if it was an equipment problem or what at this point."
He said no more deaths were expected to be reported.
"There are people trying to retrieve the bodies and we know there was no explosion," Hunt said.
The mine -- owned by Alliance Resource Partners LLP, the fourth-largest coal producer in the eastern United States -- was opened in 2000 and has a capacity of 700 tons an hour.
Three miners die in fall
Officials say mine bucket tipped, spilling victims down 500-foot shaft
Evansville Courier & Press (subscription) - Evansville,IN,USA
By BILL MEDLEY and GARRET MATHEWS
August 11, 2007PRINCETON, Ind. — It was a routine the three men experienced numerous times. Just before 10:45 a.m. Friday, they climbed into a steel bucket and began their journey 500 feet underground.
The bucket that held them was about 6 feet tall and could fit up to 10 people. The slow ride underground normally took about five minutes.
But something went wrong. The bucket, secured by a wire rope to a hoisting mechanism on the surface, tipped — officials said it was "upset from its true vertical hanging."
The three men fell out — plunging the equivalent of 50 stories to their deaths — as seven of their colleagues worked below them in the shaft.
It was the second U.S. mine disaster this week.
Federal and state investigators now will try to determine what happened at the Gibson County Coal mine site, located between Princeton, Ind., and Mount Carmel, Ill., near the intersection of Indiana 64 and Indiana 65.
The men were all employees of Frontier-Kemper Constructors, Inc., which had been wrapping up work on a new shaft into the coal mine. The shaft was nearly complete, but was not yet connected to the mine.
The identities of the victims had not been released late Friday, but those who worked with the men knew them well.
"Not only were these gentlemen co-workers, they were very close personal friends," said George Zugel, Fontier-Kemper's director of safety and health. "None of us have been down this path prior to today."
Zugel, as well as officials with the Mine Safety and Health Administration, declined to provide many details on what happened or the recovery effort that ensued. MSHA officials were making a routine inspection when the accident occurred, Zugel said.
Helicopters, some carrying state officials from the fire marshal's office and the Indiana Department of Labor, flew overhead throughout the afternoon.
About 3:30 p.m., workers began leaving the site in their vehicles. Many, still clad in their uniforms and wearing hard hats, were sullen and downcast, and they did not stop to speak with reporters.
An hour later, the three men's bodies left the site in two ambulances escorted by Gibson County Sheriff's Department vehicles. Autopsies were to be performed this morning.
John Ervin, 22, of Princeton who works for Frontier-Kemper, drove to the scene when he heard the news. He had been on the same basket — which he described as "a big cup" — during previous work shifts.
"There for awhile, we were setting explosives two or three times a month," said Ervin, who has been on the job site for six weeks. "We're pretty much done with that, and now we're busy making the floor level and clean enough to eat off of."
Ervin can't explain how the three men could have fallen out of the bucket.
"The cable holds more than a million pounds. There's some horseplay in the bucket, but just some poking-around stuff. I mean, I just don't understand."
Ervin said no blasting had occurred in the shaft for some time, and the job was nearly done.
Workers had been installing pipes that would later carry electrical wires to the floor.
Company officials would not say how many workers were employed at the site, but Ervin said about 30 men worked on four crews that rotated, keeping the construction project open around the clock.
"We were as deep as we were going to go," he said.
The bucket is designed to pass through work decks installed in the shaft, said Fontier-Kemper's Zugel. A hole in the center of the work deck is guarded by rails and safeguards, he said.
Zugel said the shaft's construction was "a fairly routine activity in mining."
Federal investigators were traveling to rural Gibson County and were to begin their inquiry today, said David Whitcomb, district manager for MSHA's Vincennes, Ind., office. He said the organization would publish preliminary information on its Web site at a later date.
Zugel said the company had met all MSHA regulations at the time of Friday's incident.
Zugel declined to comment on whether the men were required to be secured or strapped into the bucket, but he said it was not accepted industry practice to do so.
"There's really not a need," he said. Frontier-Kemper is conducting its own investigation.
In a statement, Frontier-Kemper said: "We are deeply saddened by these accidental deaths. We are cooperating fully with MSHA, state and local officials as they investigate the accident to determine its cause.
"On behalf of the company and all its employees, we extend our heartfelt condolences to their families and co-workers."
Also, the United Mine Workers of America International President Cecil E. Roberts, who visited Princeton earlier this year in support of a strike at an Illinois mine, issued the following statement:
"The successive mine site disasters taking place this week have captured the sympathy and support of the American people, just as they responded to the terrible accidents of early 2006, and serve as stark reminders that safety concerns must always be made the highest priority in this often hazardous line of work."
The mine is owned by Tulsa, Okla.-based Alliance Resource Partners, which operates the mine through Gibson County Coal.
The mine began production in November 2000 and has continuous mining units employing room-and-pillar mining techniques. The preparation plant has a throughput capacity of 700 tons of raw coal an hour.
In early June 2000, the Gibson County Coal mine experienced an underground mine explosion, which injured three workers. The explosion occurred during the construction of the underground mine on Lyles Station Road, northwest of Princeton, Ind.
A crew was sinking a new mine shaft and an air drill struck an unexploded charge, detonating it, according to reports.
Whitcomb said at the time Gunther-Nash Mining Construction Co. failed to make a thorough search to determine if there were any misfires from a previous day's blasting.
The workers were about 200 feet underground, digging a new shaft, when that accident occurred.
___________________________________________________________United States Mine Rescue Association