One killed and eight injured in mine bump at Crandall Canyon

Published: Friday, Aug. 17 2007 12:08 a.m. MDT

An ambulance rushes past the media camp on the road from the Crandall Mine outside of Huntington.

Tom Smart, Deseret Morning News

HUNTINGTON — Three rescue workers were killed and six were injured when a mountain "bum" inside the Crandall Canyon Mine happened Thursday during their attempts to reached six colleagues trapped for 11 days.

Tammy Kikuchi, spokeswoman for the Division of Natural Resources, said the men were rescuers who were working inside the mine when the bump happened Thursday evening.

"We believe it was caused by a bump. We are in the process of conducting a head count to ensure everyone's accounted for," said Rick Manning, a spokesman for the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration. All the rescuers were evacuated. Two of the injured were MSHA employees and the man was killed was a miner. The bump was reported at 6:35 p.m.

Castleview Hospital's Chief Executive Officer Jeff Manley said that by 9 p.m., three people were admitted to the Price hospital, two in serious condition and one in "very serious condition."

By that time, multiple ambulances had taken some of the injured to the Price hospital and helicopters had landed with the injured. An additional emergency room doctor has been called in.

Friends and family started to arrive not long after the bump, appearing stunned at the sudden turn of events.

Julie Ori was among them, saying she feared her nephew, Darwin Stansfield, may have been among the injured. His wife, she said, received a telephone call earlier tonight.

"All we know is that he was hurt ... Since the first accident, he has been in there working 12 hours a day." Stansfield is the father of three young children — two boys and a girl.

Donnie Leonard was a miner working on top of the mine as part of the clean-up crew and was just getting off his shift when the incident happened. He did not feel any bump, but suddenly heard his bosses starting to yell.

"Rescue teams were rushing to get respirators ... rushing to get them out."

Chris Nelson, University Hospital spokesman, said the one miner who was flown by helicopter to the Salt Lake medical center was alive.

Nelson would not say the extent of the man's injuries nor would he disclose his condition.

The miner arrived at 9:35 p.m. after being taken directly from the site of the disaster in Huntington. The flight from the mine took about 45 minutes, Nelson said.

One other University Hospital helicopter remains at the mine, Nelson said.

At Crandall Canyon, the medical vehicles hurried up and down the canyon, ferrying injured men. Paramedics could been seeing performing chest compressions on two people. Another paramedic held a sheet up to obscure reporters' view.

Emery County Sheriff Lamar Guymon pulled up to the command post at the mine's entrance after the first ambulance left but would not say anything to reporters.

Hospital staff prepared Thursday night to treat another injured miner, who also was being transported by helicopter.

Kikuchi said that Gov. Jon Hunstman Jr., was scheduled to arrive at the mine before midnight.

The medical emergency came late Thursday as rescuers were drilling a fourth hole in an attempt to learn where six miners are trapped inside the Crandall Canyon Mine. Other workers are trying to knock a tunnel nearly 2,000 feet into the mine to reach the trapped men. Work has stalled since the collapse on Aug. 6 because of the instability in the mine itself and a series of mine "bumps" or "bounces" caused when material inside shifts.

The Thursday evening "bump" came on the same day the University of Utah Seismograph Stations reported a pair of seismic events at the mine. The first was recorded at 12:40 a.m., registering 1.3 on the Richter scale, while one at 10:40 a.m. registered at 1.5 in magnitude.

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