Seven miners rescued at Lucky Friday

Dec 15, 2011

Crews have rescued seven miners after a collapse at the Lucky Friday Mine in north Idaho. It’s the third major accident there this year. The Lucky Friday’s owner says the silver mine has been evacuated until further notice.

A rockburst occurred Wednesday evening nearly 6,000 feet underground near Mullan in Idaho’s Silver Valley. Local law enforcement and the mine’s rescue crew were called in. Twenty-five people were working in the vicinity at the time.

Seven miners at the site of the rockburst went to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Hecla Mining Company owns the Lucky Friday and released a statement following the incident. Spokeswoman Melanie Hennessey says at the time, the miners were installing safeguards intended to prevent this sort of accident.

“It’s a special material designed to withstand certain rockbursts," Hennessey explains. "But it wasn’t fully installed yet.”

The accident comes on the heels of a fatality last month at the Lucky Friday. Twenty-six-year-old Brandon Gray was engulfed in rock debris while working on a project to deepen the mine.

Last April, 53-year-old Larry Marek was killed when the tunnel he was working in collapsed. The Mine Safety and Health Administration’s investigation of that incident found lack of proper safety measures at the mine and cited the mine’s owner for “aggravated conduct.”