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17 miners spend 10 hrs trapped 775ft underground

Posted at 6:19 AM, Jan 07, 2016

All 17 miners have now been rescued after spending around 10 hours trapped 775 feet below ground in an access shaft.

The miners were trapped at Cargill Salt Mines in Lansing, New York. They become stuck around 10 p.m. Wednesday in an elevator 775 feet underground while it was descending to the floor of the 2,300-foot-deep mine.

By 8:30 a.m., all of the miners had been pulled out of the shaft. They are safe, in stable condition and with their families.

A Cargill mine manager said, "Their spirits are tremendous. I'm inspired by them to be quite honest. The first four [pulled from the shaft] waited for the last two to come out."

The manager says no one else will be risked to pull the elevator from the shaft and until it is, the company will be unable to identify what caused the malfunction.

While the miners were  trapped, the AP reports officials were able to communicate with them via radio and manage to get them blankets, heat packs, and other supplies. According to a Cargill spokesman, the access shaft is the same temperature as it is outside - so it's cold.

A Cargill mine manager said each of the miners carry their personal equipment and a full compliment of food. They huddled together to keep warm.

A crane was brought in from Auburn to assist in the rescue efforts. Using a basket, crews were able to lift three to four miners at a time out of the shaft, with each trip taking 30-45 minutes.

The Ithaca Fire Department shared a picture of the crane arriving around 5 a.m. on Thursday on their Facebook page and pictures of the rescue efforts around 8:40 a.m.


At 8:30 am, The last of 17 miners were rescued from a shaft 800 feet down at the Cargill salt mine. This brought to...

Posted by Ithaca Fire Department on Thursday, January 7, 2016

A Cargill spokesman says the miners' families were contacted Wednesday night when they realized it would not be a quick rescue. Officials also contacted anyone the miners felt needed to be aware of what was happening.

Cargill's website says the mine just north of Ithaca has been in operation since 1922 and annually processes about 2 million tons of road salt that's shipped throughout the northeast United States.

A Cargill spokesman touted the mine's safety recording, describing it as the safest salt mine in the country.