Seventeen salt miners who had been trapped in an elevator shaft at an upstate New York mine have been rescued, officials said on Thursday 7 January. The mine's owner said it would inspect the property to see what had caused the incident.
The miners became trapped about 800-900ft down the elevator shaft when a lift malfunctioned at Cargill's Cayuga Salt Mine in Lansing, a town of about 11,000 people north of the city of Ithaca in central New York, the Tompkins County Department of Emergency Response said. Technical rescue experts and equipment were summoned to the scene to help rescue the workers, emergency officials said.
"To go out and find a crane that can reach to possibly a thousand feet, as as we learned through the numerous phone calls, is a difficult task," Cargill Mine manager Shawn Wilcxynski said.
A spokesman for Cargill Inc said the company would launch an investigation into why the elevator malfunctioned. The miners were trapped from Wednesday 6 January shortly after 10pm local time.
"They huddled together. They need they did what they could do to keep each other warm and keep each other's spirits up, and they persevered the best way they could," Wilcyznski said.
According to Cargill's website, the Lansing mine processes approximately two million tons of road salt that is shipped to more than 1,500 locations throughout the north-east United States.