Miner Hospitalized After Accident At Lucky Friday Mine - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

UPDATE: Miner Hospitalized After Accident At Lucky Friday Mine

UPDATE: The miner that is critical condition has been identified as Brandon Gray.

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PRESS RELEASE FROM THE HECLA MINING COMPANY:

Hecla Mining Company reports an accident occurred at its Lucky Friday mine in Northern Idaho on November 17, 2011. The accident occurred as part of the construction of the #4 Shaft at the Lucky Friday operation. Two contractors were involved in the accident during routine activities involving the construction of a 16-foot diameter underground rock bin (a storage area for broken rock).

The work involved drilling, blasting, and mucking of rock into a previously constructed area. Both men were believed to be wearing all required personal protection equipment, including fall protection.

For reasons that are unknown at this time, the two men were drawn into material that was moving underneath them. Both contractors were removed from the area and transported to the hospital, and one has been released. All personnel are accounted for. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and for a safe recovery of the injured contractor," said Phil Baker, President and Chief Executive Officer.

"Operating our mines safely is a top priority for Hecla, and we will continue to work to prevent such incidents from occurring." The accident is being investigated by the Company and representatives from the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration. The workers' families have been notified. The Lucky Friday mine has temporarily ceased mining to investigate this accident.

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MULLAN, Idaho - Hecla Mining officials tell KHQ that a cementation worker was hospitalized Thursday night after an "accident in an area under construction" in the No.4 Shaft Project at the Lucky Friday mine.

Hecla officials did not provide additional details. They are not calling it a "mine collapse" as the Shoshone Co. Sheriff's Office initially reported to KHQ.

A spokesperson for the Hecla Mining Company says there was an incident in the #4 Shaft Project and that a cementation employee is in the hospital. The extent of injuries are unknown.

This accident comes seven months after a mine collapse at the Lucky Friday Mine. In April a mine collapse killed life-long miner Larry Marek 6,000 feet below the surface of mine.

Right now, the Hecla Mining Company as well as federal officials who oversee mine safety, known as the Mine Safety and Health Administration are currently working to complete an investigation into the collapse that killed Marek.

So far, they have not completed that investigation.

The Lucky Friday Mine has been in operation for 69 years. It's a deep underground silver, lead and zinc mine in the Silver Valley Idaho.

Watch KHQ and KHQ.com's live NewsBreaks (10a, Noon, 2p) with Dave Cotton for updates.

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