MSHA reports:

“At approximately 8:39 pm (EDT) Thursday night, a significant bounce occurred at the mine.  Three rescue workers are confirmed dead, including one MSHA inspector.  Six others remain hospitalized.  At this time, all rescue efforts have been suspended.”

The MSHA inspector who was fatally injured in this latest coal-pillar rockburst was Mr. Gary Jensen, who worked out the MSHA’s Price, Utah office.  Gary was a member of MSHA’s mine rescue team.  Before joining MSHA, he worked as a coal miner for SUFCO Coal and had also been part of that company’s mine rescue team.

Another MSHA inspector from the Price, Utah field office, Mr. Frank Markosek, was also underground when the violent rockburst occurred.  He was seriously injured.  Both of these men, like nearly every MSHA employee, are committed to protecting the health and safety of  miners.  They were underground at the Crandall Canyon mine specifically to ensure that the Murray Energy coal miners digging through the collapse and setting roof and rib supports were working as safely as possible.  Like coal miners across the world, they were part of a brotherhood, living by an unspoken promise to one another: “I’ve got your back.”

Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao issued the following statement:

“Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to the families, friends and colleagues of the rescuers who were killed and those who were injured last night during the heroic efforts to save the lives of the trapped miners.  These brave men–one of them a Mine Safety and Health Administration professional–made the ultimate sacrifice so that others may live.  We join the families and the community in mourning the loss of these courageous rescuers and we continue to pray for those miners still missing.”