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'Prayers for the family': Roundup worried about 3 workers injured at coal mine

Signal Peak.JPG
Posted at 10:07 PM, Mar 01, 2023

ROUNDUP - Residents in Roundup are expressing concern following news thatthree workers were seriously injured after an underground collapse at the Signal Peak Energy mine.

"Just keep prayers for the family, that has gotten hurt. That's all we could ask for," said Armon Fox, whose son-in-law has two brothers who work at the mine.

It all happened around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, when the three miners suddenly became trapped.

The collapse happened in a section of the mine near the end of what is known as the "long wall"— an active part of the mine where operations take place.

The county agency said federal authorities are investigating the incident.

One went to the hospital by helicopter, one by ambulance, and one drove on his own.

And all three were brought out by the company's mine rescue team.

The three men were about a mile into the long wall mine, when a boulder came loose.

Two men had been taken out of the mine and it took about half an hour to help the third man, who was conscious during the extrication.

"He was the last one out," said Justin Russell, Musselshell County disaster & emergency services (DES) director. "As it was reported to us, he had one of his legs was still pinned under a rock, so the extrication team had to get the rock off of his leg to get them onto the backboard and transported."

Russell called this a freak accident and said the men were fortunate.

"No air was cut off," Russell said. "It wasn't a total collapse. It was just a section, again not sure the exact size but just a small section came down in the area where these miners were working."

Many in Roundup have concerns for the safety of their relatives or friends working at the mine.

"My first thought was maybe my brother was in there or my brother-in-law," said Ryan Bruner.

Bruner worked at the mine about 15 years ago and says safety is emphasized.

"I like to think of it like a parking garage," Bruner said. "It's all underground and it's complete darkness with your little lamp on. That's the only light you have. But you know, it was pretty spacious and you felt safe enough. You have to keep your mind on your job, but you have to watch what you're doing at all times."

"Well I hope everybody's safe but that work at the mine or any place for that matter," Fox said. "Safety's always number one."

And they say it's a tight-knit community supporting miners in Roundup.

"When somebody has something happen a family or a loved one everyone kind of gets together and helps in any way they can with you know, prayers and you know, helping the family," Bruner said.

Officials at Signal Peak have not commented on the incident.