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DOL/MSHA News Release USDL [02-411]
Mine Safety and Health Administration
Contact: Rodney Brown
Phone: (202) 693-9425

Released Thursday, July 25, 2002

News Release

MSHA Monitoring Rescue Activities At Pennsylvania Coal Mine

ARLINGTON, VA -- Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) rescue personnel and technical specialists have responded to the emergency at the QueCreek Mine in Somerset County, Pa., where nine miners became trapped in an underground coal mine after an inundation last night.

"We are greatly concerned for the trapped miners and their families," said Dave D. Lauriski, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "We, along with State officials, are closely monitoring the situation and offering technical assistance to the company's rescue efforts."

According to preliminary information, an inundation of water occurred late Wednesday in the working section of the underground coal mine. Nine miners safely evacuated the mine and nine miners were trapped by water. The area of the entrapment is approximately 230 feet underground and about one and a half miles from the mine entrance.

MSHA's mine rescue team is on site along with representatives of the agency's District 2 office and Technical Support Center, both located near Pittsburgh, Pa., as well other State and Federal officials.

The QueCreek Mine was opened in 2000 by Black Wolf Coal, Inc. According to reports filed by the operator, approximately 60 miners are employed working two production shifts per day. The mine produced 200,000 tons of coal in 2001.