Officials believe part of the mine’s roof fell onto equipment the miner was working in, fatally injuring the victim, DEP spokesperson Lauren Fraley said in a statement.
DEP received a report of a roof collapse and a trapped miner at the Laurel Aggregates’ Lake Lynn Mine, just north of the state’s border with West Virginia, Friday afternoon, Fraley’s statement said, adding the mine’s operator reported the collapse within the required 15 minutes. The department’s Bureau of Mine Safety rescue team was deployed in response.
“Crews from the company and DEP’s mine rescue team worked to remove loose rock to reach the equipment and move it under a solid, supported area of the roof to ultimately extricate the individual,” the statement said. “The miner was not responsive, and crews were unable to assess their condition.”
The DEP rescue team and the Smithfield Volunteer Fire Department freed the miner from the mine shortly after 11 p.m. ET and the miner was pronounced dead at the scene. DEP will not be identifying the victim, the statement said.
“On behalf of the (Gov. Tom) Wolf Administration, DEP, and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, our thoughts are with the individual’s family and we extend heartfelt condolences for their loss,” the statement said.
A spokesperson for Arcosa, the company that owns the mine, said in a statement it was “deeply saddened to confirm a fatality has occurred as a result of an accident at the Laurel Aggregates mine.”
“We extend our deepest sympathies to the employee’s family and friends,” spokesperson Jeff Eller said, adding the company is cooperating with authorities to determine the cause of the accident.
The collapse will be investigated by DEP and the Mine Safety and Health Administration, Fraley’s statement said, “which would include securing the accident site, interviews with mine personnel, and underground observations.”
“DEP will issue a preliminary action report with general findings and a final report with its full determination of the cause and potential corrective measures required of the mine operator to ensure that this type of situation does not happen again,” the statement said.