Mine Safety and Health Administration
Contact: Amy Louviere
Phone: (202) 693-9423
Released Tuesday, September 10, 2002
Quecreek Investigation Onsite Phase Nears Completion
NEW STANTON, Pa. - Federal and state investigators have inspected the area where nine miners recently were trapped for 77 hours in the Quecreek Mine, Somerset County, Pa., and examined a breach between the Quecreek Mine and what is believed to be the abandoned Saxman Mine. Investigators have completed mapping the mine for pertinent information, damage and high water levels, except for one section of the mine where water continues to block access.
"The investigation is proceeding well, and investigators will carefully review all the information collected before drawing conclusions, " said David D. Lauriski, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health.
Investigators found the breakthrough was 4 feet high and 6 feet wide.
In addition, Lauriski said:
- Water continues to be pumped from the mine to clear access to all areas of the mine;
- Interviews with the majority of Quecreek personnel as well as the engineers who developed the mine maps have been completed;
- MSHA investigators have found an additional old map of the Saxman Mine, which held the millions of gallons of water that spilled into Quecreek #1. The agency is seeking further information on the Saxman Mine (also known as Harrison No. 2).
The map was found by MSHA investigators at the Windber Coal Heritage Center museum in Winber, Pa.
MSHA also has conducted a risk assessment of mines throughout the country to determine potential for similar breakthroughs and is working with mine operators to ensure that necessary steps are taken to protect against these incidents. The agency is presently developing an agenda for a symposium on prevention of inundations that will be scheduled next month, Lauriski said.
See Statement by Assistant Secretary of Labor Dave Lauriski