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METAL/NONMETAL MINE FATALITY - On October 17, 2002, a 49-year-old mine rescue team trainer with 26 years mining experience and a 38-year-old co-trainer with 2 years mining experience were fatally injured, at an abandoned underground gold mine. Both were participating under oxygen in an exercise to evaluate conditions in this mine. As the team was walking up the steep decline to return to the surface, the victims experienced breathing difficulties and collapsed. The first victim was pronounced dead at the scene. The second victim was transported to a medical facility where he succumbed to his injuries on October 23, 2002.

Photo of Accident Scene

Best Practices

  • Ensure all self contained breathing apparatus are properly checked and equipped as to manufacturers recommendations prior to their use.
  • During non emergency exercises, ensure that underground mine areas that rescue teams plan to enter are ventilated and free of serious hazards.
  • Maintain continuous communications with the surface whenever mine rescue personnel encounter toxic gases, explosive gases or any conditions that pose serious danger.
  • More Information E-mail Suggestion for Accident Prevention Program Submit your own suggestion for a remedy to prevent this type of accident in the future.
    Please specify if you wish your submission to be anonymous or whether your name may be used. Please include the year of the fatality and the fatality number.

    These are the 36th and 37th fatalities reported in calendar year 2002 in the metal and nonmetal mining industries. As of this date in 2001, there were 24 fatalities reported in these industries. These are the third and fourth fatalities classified as Other in 2002. There were no Other fatalities in the same period in 2001.

    The information provided in this notice is based on preliminary data ONLY and does not represent final determinations regarding the nature of the incident or conclusions regarding the cause of the fatalities.

    For more information:
    Fatal Alert Bulletin Icon MSHA's Fatal Accident Investigation Report