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Front Page » March 4, 2008 » Local News » UtahAmerican releases design, location of memorial for Cr...
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UtahAmerican releases design, location of memorial for Crandall Canyon victims

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An artist conception of the memorial to be built near the Crandall Canyon mine.

The victims lost during the Crandall Canyon disaster will be memorialized by six stone monuments and three stone benches placed in a semi-circle near the mine and inscribed with the names of the nine men lost on Aug. 6 and Aug. 16, 2007.

According to a UtahAmerican press release, the Rev. Shawn Clapp of Ferron met with the families on Feb. 28 to finalize the memorial to be developed to honor the fallen miners. The release indicated the memorial will be constructed in accordance with designs selected by the families of the miners.

The project will come under construction as early as weather will permit at a site above the Crandall Canyon mine on company land. The project will consist of a public parking area, 300 feet of walking trail and the large stone memorial itself.

The semi-circle of six stone monuments will include the names of the miners lost on Aug. 6: Don Erickson, Luis Hernandez, Brandon Phillips, Manuel Sanchez, Kerry Allred and Carlos Payan.

The three stone benches will list the names of the rescuers who died Aug. 16: Dale Black, Brandon Kimber and Gary Jensen.

The benches will be located in front of and opposite the six stone monuments.

Joining Clapp at the meeting with the families was David Shaver, project engineer with Utah American.

The press release explained that Shaver used a series of maps and drawings to detail the overall location and details of the memorial to the families, including the parking area access trail and the design of the monuments.

Last Aug. 6, the collapse of sidewalls and the uplifting of the floor at Crandall Canyon mine trapped six underground workers and put Castle Valley on hold as the rescue attempt began.

"Last year, our community showed courage in the face of adversity," said Price Mayor Joe Piccolo in his 2008 state of the city address. "As the tragedy of Aug. 6 unfolded our community banded together."

On the mountain above the mine, two drill holes were initially a number that would grow to more than nine before the ordeal came to an end.

On the edge of their seats the community waited for some proof of life knowing that miners are trained, when trapped to respond to rescuers by banging on metal to create enough sound to be heard.

On Aug. 16th the situation went from horrible to unthinkable as three rescue workers lost their lives while attempting to save their mining brethren.

Following the catastrophic events, Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. formed the Utah Mine Safety Commission. The commission was charged with advising the state government about the avenues to peruse safety precautions for the unique mining conditions in the area.

The mining commission is locally represented by Dmitrich, Piccolo and Huntington Mayor Hillary Gordon.

In there first official report to the governor released on Jan. 23 the commission recommended 45 points of contention.

Chiefly the commission recommended that the state should establish an office of coal mine safety (OMCS) within the Utah Labor Commission with a mandate to maximize coal mine safety, coal mine accident prevention and effective accident response. The state had been involved in mine inspections and regulation until the 1970s and 1980s when the federal government agencies, OSHA and then MSHA took over a lot of those duties. The state legislature then disbanded most of the state oversight of mines because of the federal agency involvement.

The commission further recommended that the state should encourage the University of Utah department of mining and the Western Energy Training Center to collaborate on engineering preparatory programs for both traditional and non-traditional students and on the opportunities for teaching partnerships involving their respective faculties. In addition the two should develop an associate degree program in mining technology and present it to the board of regents for their approval.

While the report brought some concrete conclusions for the governor to examine, the memorial project is hoping to produce an enduring symbol of the miners and the rescuers sacrifice, according to the UtahAmerican release.

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