SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah coal mine hadn't done enough to support the ceiling of a tunnel that collapsed on a machine operator, crushing the man under tons of weight, federal regulators said Monday.
The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration released an investigation into the collapse that killed Elam Jones on March 22 in Carbon County about 10 miles west of Huntington.
Rhino Resource Partners LP didn't have enough 60-inch bolts drilled into the ceiling to keep it from falling down, and the bolts failed, the federal agency said in the report released Monday.
The danger should have been clear because the tunnel started caving in sideways first, accident investigators said. Their report also found a mobile roof support system used with mining machines wasn't kept over the active mining area.
The company was given several safety citations and told to revise their roof-control plan.
The deadly mishap resonated in Utah's coal mining communities because Jones, 29, had avoided a coal mine catastrophe five years before inside another Utah coal mine a few miles away.
Jones was on his way to the Crandall Canyon mine to start a shift when it collapsed in 2007, entombing six miners nearly a half-mile underground. Their bodies were never recovered. Another cave-in 10 days later killed two rescuers and a federal inspector trying to tunnel their way to the trapped miners.