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Stay Out Stay Alive Fatal Accident Summaries
for 2005

A Bentleyville, Pa., couple died when the all-terrain vehicle they were riding plunged over a 60-foot cliff at a mine waste pile.

David Creek, 30, and his wife, Lori, 32, were found by rescuers early Monday in a creek at the foot of the cliff after a relative reported them missing, state police said. "It was either dark or they were unfamiliar with the terrain," Trooper David Watts said shortly after the bodies were pulled from Pigeon Creek.

The property, also called a gob pile, has been the site of at least two other accidents, including one two months ago involving an ATV. In September 2000, seven people escaped serious injury when two vehicles plunged over the same cliff, police said.

The gob pile is a popular destination for ATV enthusiasts. No-trespassing signs once were posted in the area off, but they since have been removed.

The DEP is set to promote its abandoned mine land "Stay Out-Stay Alive" program through pamphlets distributed with new ATV registrations, Rathbun said.

The program also reminds property owners to post no-trespassing signs and take other measures to reduce public access to the 250,000 acres of abandoned mine property in the state, he said.

According to Rathbun, gob piles are especially dangerous because some have high cliffs and unstable water-filled pits that can collapse and bury people. (Source: Observer-Reporter/Washington, PA)