2 miners freed from Kiski Township mine after rock falls
Federal and state mine safety officials are investigating a rockfall Monday inside a Kiski Township coal mine that injured two miners.
The mishap occurred at about 4:50 p.m. at the Tracy Lynne Mine, which is operated by the Kittanning-based Rosebud Mining Co.
Rosebud Vice President Jim Barker would not identify the injured men, other than to say they likely lived within a mile of the mine, whose entrance is near the intersection of Brownstown and McCartney roads.
Rick Murphy, with the state Bureau of Mine Safety, said two miners were hurt, including one with a possible knee injury.
Barker described their injuries as minor. They were taken by Oklahoma ambulance to Forbes Regional Hospital, Monroeville.
John Poister, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection, said the accident occurred when rock fell from a support pillar, not during a roof collapse as was initially reported to emergency responders.
Murphy said rescuers worked about an hour to get the miners out of the mine. They were reported to be conscious at all times.
Barker said mine operations ceased after the incident, but no miners were evacuated. Miners not involved in the mishap were interviewed by mine safety inspectors.
U.S. Labor Department spokesman Jesse Lawder confirmed that its Mine Safety and Health Administration is investigating.
Barker said a chunk, about 3 feet wide, 9 feet long and 3 inches thick, fell off the rock ceiling and hit both men.
He said the two injured men were among 16 miners in the mine.
Barker said the mine is no more than 400 feet below the surface at any point and only about 4 feet high. The miners must crawl on their hands and knees as they work.
Barker said the men were working about 6 miles from the mine portal.
He said safety is a priority for Rosebud.
“We all want to go home at night,” he said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the employees and their families.”
A nervous Heather Bowser of Apollo waited at the gate to the mine property for word on her husband, Ryan Bowser. She said her husband started working in the mine about a year ago after he was unable to find a teaching job; she said he broke a finger a week or two into the job.
“My father-in-law works for Rosebud. He called and told me to turn on the news,” she said of how she heard of the accident. “I live up the street so I drove down.”
“They brought me over to both ambulances,” Bowser said. “He wasn't in either one.”
Bowser looked on as two ambulances left the property.
A Kiski Township police officer guarded the gate, saying that trying to get past would constitute a federal offense.
What safety records show
According to the MSHA, the Tracy Lynne Mine has been open since 1997.
A 26-year old miner from Kittanning died in the mine in June 2005.
This year, according to MSHA records online, the mine has been inspected 16 times, including three inspections in June, and one as recently as June 20.
None of the June inspections resulted in citations.
However, during a “regular health and safety inspection” that began on April 1 and is listed as ongoing, a total of 18 violations were filed between April 1 and May 23.
Most seem to deal with the application of rock dust and maintenance of electrical equipment and machinery.
One citation, issued on May 20, indicates it relates to the supports of the “roof, face and ribs” of the mine. The citations don't specify what was wrong. No penalty has been assessed yet in relation to that citation.
According to MSHA records, five accidents have been reported at the mine this year; one involved an injury: on Jan. 3, a roof bolter's helper injured his knee while positioning his body.
The other accidents involved roof falls that did not affect any workers.
Five employees were injured in separate incidents in 2012, according to MSHA. None involved rock falls.
Brian Rittmeyer and Liz Hayes are staff writers for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Police: Man riding bike in New Kensington strikes truck, dies
- Man uninjured after leap from Hulton Bridge
- Pyrotechnics to be used in TV filming in New Kensington
- ‘Defective component’ shuts down part of new ATI Harrison mill
- Penn Hills teenager charged in New Kensington shooting
- Springdale suspect’s fate could depend on mental health assessment
- Allegheny Township neighbors take drilling dispute to court
- Burrell Township rollover wreck kills Parks man
- 3 men arrested in cellphone heist in Frazer
- Springdale police chief receives long-awaited job description
- Alle-Kiski Valley carries the fight to cancer