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Roof fall kills one coal miner, injures another at Emery mine

Elam Jones

Emery County Progress editor

A cave-in at an Emery County mine on Friday afternoon killed one miner and left another injured.

Elam Jones, 29, of Huntington, was killed during the cave-in. Dallen McFarlane, 26, suffered injuries during the cave-in.

Emery County Sheriff Greg Funk reported that the Emery County Sheriff's Office Dispatch received an emergency call of a mine cave-in at the Rhino Mine in Bear Canyon, 10 miles west of Huntington.

The call came in at 3:12 p.m. reporting that two coal miners were buried in the cave-in.

Emery County Sheriff's Office personnel as well as two ambulances were dispatched to the scene. McFarlane was transported by ambulance to Castleview Hospital in Price where he was treated and released.

Joe Dougherty, a spokesman for the Utah Department of Public Safety's Division of Emergency Management, sent out a tweet at 6:09 p.m. reading "sad news from Rhino mine... Team has recovered body of second miner from the collapse. Heartbreaking day for Emery County."

Rescue efforts continued in the hopes of finding Jones. Members of the Rhino Mine Rescue Team recovered Jones' body a few hours later, according to reports.

Jones is the son of Huntington City Councilwoman Julie Jones, and her husband Derk.

Funk said the miners were pulling pillars at the time of the incident. Jones was running the miner and Dallen McFarlane was the assistant to the miner operator. Funk said it was reported the portion of the roof that came down was two feet thick and 10-12 feet in length. Jones was buried in the collapse and was reported to be unresponsive after the cave-in. Jones appeared to have died immediately from his injuries, being crushed by the rock and coal.

Investigation of the mine cave-in will be conducted by MSHA.

Jones and McFarlane both participated in the rescue efforts at the Crandall Canyon Mine in August 2007. The disaster left nine people dead, including three miners and six rescue workers who died during an implosion 10 days later.

Jones leaves behind his wife Jaqlynn and two young children.

The Jones family said Elam loved coal mining. He loved his friends and co-workers at the mine. Elam was an avid hunter, fisherman and snowmobiler. He loved the outdoors and spending time with his family.

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