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DOL/MSHA News Release USDL [02-423]
Mine Safety and Health Administration
Contact: Sue Hensley
Phone: (202) 693-4676

Released Monday, July 29, 2002 

News Release 

U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao Celebrates Rescue
Mine Safety and Health Administration Recognized for Leadership

WASHINGTON -- Department of Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao released the following statement today regarding the successful rescue of nine miners at the Quecreek Mine in Somerset, Pa. early Sunday morning:

"I am overjoyed that the nine miners are rescued and in seemingly good health. My best wishes go to the miners and their families who have endured so much this past week. I also want to extend my heartfelt thanks and congratulations to the men and women of the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) who helped lead the mine rescue effort.

"Special recognition goes to Dave Lauriski, MSHA Assistant Secretary, who was at the scene and personally directed MSHA's activities there, and to John Urosek, MSHA's chief of the ventilation division in Pittsburgh, Pa. John came up with the life-saving idea of holding back the water by continuing to force compressed air into the cavity where the miners were trapped.

"The accident at Quecreek was one of those worst-case scenarios that the mining community works so hard to prevent. The ultimate happy ending proved the value of decades of investment in mine safety techniques. The training of the miners combined with the preparedness of both the private and government employees involved in the rescue effort helped to bring about this successful outcome.

"Our gratitude goes to the team at MSHA and the other rescue workers - federal and state employees who worked together seamlessly to save lives. Many of you traveled great distances and all of you worked without rest to bring the miners home to their loved ones. We are grateful for your courage, perseverance and heart!"