Workers at a Cargill Salt Mines location in upstate New York were freed after having been trapped some 70 stories underground when an elevator broke down. The mine shaft is the deepest salt mine in North America at 2,300 feet.
The miners had just started their 10 p.m. shift on Jan. 6 and were heading down into the mine when an elevator malfunction occurred – some news outlets reported that a steel beam had broken – stalling their movement. The company was in constant contact with the 17 miners, and was able to provide them with water, blankets and heat packs during the wait for rescue.
Mine manager Shawn Wilczynski said the men stayed positive, noting at a press conference: “As is typical with them, (they were) joking, sharing stories, having a good time with each other.”
A large crane was used to lower a basket that allowed the miners to exit the mine as many as six at a time. By 8:40 a.m. on Jan.7, all of them were above ground once again.
The Cayuga Mine celebrated 5 years with no lost-time accidents in late March 2015. In March 2010, a contractor was killed at the mine when a 150-ton salt bin collapsed due to corrosion.