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METAL/NONMETAL MINE FATALITY - On April 13, 1997, a truck driver with 8 months of mining experience disappeared at a gold pit. The employee was operating a dozer on top of a tailings dam. The dozer traveled backwards down the sloped face of the dam into the water. The employee was not found after extensive investigation and recovery efforts were conducted at the mine. Further, on October 30, a District Court jury for the State of Alaska at Fairbanks unanimously found that there was not sufficient evidence to presume that the employee had died.

In light of the above, MSHA has determined that it is premature to issue a final decision on this case. Accordingly, the case has been removed from MSHA's count of fatalities in the metal/nonmetal mining industry for 1997.