Sugar Creek, MO
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This was the scenario during a recent mine emergency response drill: A truck containing explosives caught fire in an underground limestone mine in Missouri. When the explosives detonated, five miners became trapped beneath the rubble. An intense rescue followed, and four miners were successfully extricated. Tragically, one miner died from his injuries.
The drill took place Nov. 6 and 7 at Central Plains Cement Company in Sugar Creek, Mo., and it turned out to be one of MSHA’s larger-scale response exercises. In addition to the host company, teams from around the Midwest participated: Doe Run, Martin Marietta, Vulcan Materials, Missouri University of Science and Technology, Lyons Salt, South Dakota School of Mines and Fred Weber Inc. These nine teams had their work cut out for them, navigating through dense smoke with zero visibility, extinguishing fires and administering first aid to dozens of “injured” miners in a triage environment.
MSHA’s fleet of mine emergency response equipment, which boasts state-of-the-art communications technology, was on full display, along with Drager’s MRV 9000, a mine rescue vehicle designed in cooperation with gold producer Goldcorp to travel safely underground during a mine emergency. Other organizations in attendance included Missouri Department of Labor, Sugar Creek’s fire and police departments and members of the Fort Osage Vo-Tech firefighter/EMT class.
MSHA Assistant Secretary Joseph Main commended the collective efforts of all the participants. “This is a darn good investment for the mine rescue community as a whole,” he said. The previous day, Main toured Carmeuse Lime and Stone’s Longview Operation near Birmingham, Ala.