Trapped Ohio Miners Speak On Rescue
HOPEDALE (KDKA) — A sudden and potentially deadly roof collapse trapped two men inside of a coal mine in Ohio.
It happened Wednesday around 9:00 a.m. at a mine in Hopedale, Ohio near the border of West Virginia.
The miners were not injured, but they were trapped in the mine for most of the day.
The mine was idled, while other miners, trained in rescue operations, removed debris, trying to reach them.
After hours of rescue efforts, at both men were pulled to the surface around 7:30 p.m. and one of the miners is now talking about the ordeal.
“I’m fine. I was just a little rattled last night,” says miner Jake Harris. “It happens, it’s a coal mine.”
“It didn’t give much warning. It just came down,” Harris continues. “They train us for all of this and we go through training each year. They give us all of the information for different mines. We had an idea of what was going on and communication with the rescue team the whole time.”
“It was nice to be out in the fresh air again. All I wanted was a cigarette,” Harris says.
This is the second time the Harris family has experienced something like this in a mine.
Just last year, one of his relatives lost part of his leg in a room collapse as well.
Harris says he is going to take the weekend off and plans to return back to work on Monday.
Another one of the trapped miners, Gary Dulkoski, said he never expected to be trapped.
“I’ve got 20-some years coal mining experience, and I’ve never witnessed anything like that,” Dulkoski said.
According to mine safety records, there have been a number of safety problems at this particular mine.
Over the past five years, the mine has received numerous citations. There have been 18 injuries reported, as well.
The mine has recently paid over $360,000 in fines.
The MSHA says they believe gravity and geology are to blame for Wednesday’s accident, and they don’t believe the mine is at fault.