Miners trapped in East Tennessee Zinc mine are pulled free

5pm Update:

NEW MARKET, Tenn. (AP) - Three miners trapped by smoke underground in a Tennessee zinc mine have been rescued after a fire started on a drill rig.

Tim Wilder, of the Jefferson County EMA, said the three were helped out of the mine by a rescue team after about three hours underground Wednesday. They appear to be unharmed but are being taken to a hospital.

Nyrstar, the company that operates the mine, says the miners were in "fine spirits."

Two other miners were also taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation.

Original story from sister station WVLT:

Rescue crews have just pulled three trapped workers from Young Mine in New Market.

Teams were called to New Market around one o'clock Wednesday afternoon on reports of a fire at the mine. Rescuers went down into the mine around 2:35 p.m. Right now none of them are going to the hospital.

Crews on the scene tell us the a drill rig started the fire. 54 people were working in the mine when it happened. The drill rig is run by diesel, so a lot of smoke filled the mine.

Firefighters had to put out the drill rig fire, which does have a fire suppresent, before they could get to the miners. The three who got trapped stayed secure in a bunker, safe from smoke.

Rescuers had to ventilate the smoke from the mine before getting the workers out.

Solomon said the fire on a drill rig was about 800 feet deep. Two other injured miners were taken to a hospital suffering from smoke inhalation.

Young Mine is owned by Belgium-based Nyrstar NV, which bought it and two other mines, Immel Mine in Mascot and Coy Mine in Strawberry Plains for $126 million in late 2009. All three are located in the Mascot-Jefferson City District and mine Mississippi Valley-type zinc ore.

According to a fact sheet provided by the company, at full strength, the three mines are expected to produce 210 dry metric tonnes of zinc concentrate at a zinc grade of 62%, which is enough to keep its smelter in Clarksville running at full capacity.


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