Investigations Begin into Fatal Western Md. Mine Collapse

April 26, 2007

The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration has launched a formal investigation into last week’s accident in a Maryland open pit coal mine that killed two men.

“We evaluate all aspects of the mine accident, and that includes potential causes and compliance with our federal health and safety standards,” said Amy Louviere, an MSHA spokeswoman.

Dale Jones, 51, and Mike Wilt, 38, were operating heavy equipment on April 17 at a site near Barton when a high wall collapsed, burying them under thousands of tons of earth and rocks. They are believed to have died instantly; their bodies were found April 20.

The investigation could take months. An investigative team will study the accident site, interview mine workers, review records and plans and inspect any equipment that was being used, Louviere said.

The investigative report will identify the cause of the accident. Any violations could lead to fines for the owner of the site, Tri-Star Mining Inc.

Information from: Cumberland (Md.) Times-News,

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