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Seven Miners Removed from Idaho Mine after Rock Burst

MULLAN, Idaho (AP) — Seven miners have been safely removed from deep in a northern Idaho mine after rock burst caused injuries to the workers, a mine company said late Wednesday.

One of the miners was taken to a hospital, while the other six were treated at the scene. Hecla Mining Co. spokeswoman Melanie Hennessey didn’t immediately have other details on the Wednesday night incident at the Lucky Friday mine, one of the nation’s deepest underground mines.

The Shoshone County Sheriff’s Office received a call about 7:50 p.m. Wednesday that miners were either trapped or buried at the silver mine.

An underground rescue team and air and ground ambulances were immediately dispatched.

Two Lucky Friday miners have died in separate instances at the mine this year.

A roof collapse in a tunnel more than a mile underground trapped a 53-year-old silver miner in April. Crews recovered Larry Marek’s body nine days later.

Last month, miner Brandon Gray was buried in rubble after trying to dislodge a jammed rock bin. He died from his injuries two days later.

Shortly after Gray’s death, Mine Safety and Health Administration regulators criticized Hecla for safety failures that led to Marek’s death. The mine received four citations and faces nearly $1 million in penalties, the Spokesman-Review of Spokane, Wash., reported.

The investigation report cited Lucky Friday management for failing to install adequate ground support systems and neglecting to test the stability of the area where the collapse that killed Marek occurred.

The mine is currently undergoing a $200 million project to deepen it nearly 9,000 feet to increase access to deeper silver deposits. Hecla officials expect the project to be completed by 2014.