Quecreek survivors settle lawsuits

JUST shy of seven years after an inundation accident that trapped nine workers inside the Quecreek mine in Pennsylvania, eight members of the crew have settled legal disputes with the mine owner and map engineering firm.
Quecreek survivors settle lawsuits Quecreek survivors settle lawsuits Quecreek survivors settle lawsuits Quecreek survivors settle lawsuits Quecreek survivors settle lawsuits

Drilling to rescue miners trapped in the Quecreek mine. (Photo by Commonwealth Media Services)

Donna Schmidt

According to the Associated Press, Randy Fogle, Dennis Hall, Blaine Mayhugh, Robert Pugh, Ronald Hileman, John Phillippi, John Unger and Tom Foy initially sued Quecreek, its owner PBS Coals, and the operation’s map engineering firm Musser in 2003, citing negligence due to uncertified and outdated maps.

While monetary sums included in the settlement were not disclosed and are to remain confidential, the defendants will not admit to negligence as it relates to the incident on July 24, 2002. The ninth miner involved in the 72-million-gallon inundation did not sue, the news service said.

None of the defendant’s legal representatives have commented publicly on the suit or its outcome.

According to local newspaper the Tribune-Democrat, a second group of miners who escaped the entrapment and made it to the surface without injury also sued the companies, and will share in the settlement. That group includes Frank Stewart, Barry Carlson, Douglas Custer, David Petree, Ryan Petree and Lawrence Summerville.

The companies are appealing the maximum $US55,000 fine assessed as a result of the accident.

Last August, Moscow-based Severstal Resources acquired PBS Coals in a deal worth $1.3 billion.

Severstal is a division of Severstal’ OAO, which received PBS through its takeover of parent company Penfold Capital Acquisition Corporation.

PBS operations produce 4 million tons of metallurgical coal per annum from the central Northern Appalachian region. The miner’s holdings include six underground and six surface operations.

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