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Rescuer suing Crandall mine owner and partners

Published August 5, 2011 4:22 pm

Crandall Canyon • Mitch Horton was hurt in the second collapse, on Aug. 16.
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A miner who was part of the rescue effort after the Crandall Canyon Mine collapse that killed a total of nine people in August 2007 has filed a personal injury lawsuit against the mine's owner and its partners.

Mitch Horton, who was a rescuer attempting to reach six trapped miners after an initial mine collapse on Aug. 6, claims the owners promoted dangerous mining practices, and permitted dangerous working and rescue conditions, according to the lawsuit filed in Wednesday in 3rd District Court.

Horton is seeking an unspecified punitive and compensatory damages from Murray Energy Corp., Utah American Energy Inc., Andalex Resources Inc., Agapito Associates Inc., Intermountain Power Agency and several other parties.

Horton and eight others were part of a rescue attempt on Aug. 16 when another collapse killed three of the rescuers. Horton and five other rescuers were injured, the lawsuit states.

"Deteriorating conditions and increasing seismic events at the site of rescue operations preceded the fatal [collapse] in the last few days before Aug. 16, yet [rescue] operations continued," the lawsuit states.

Horton claims Murray Energy and its partners should have known that the mine was in a dangerous condition that posed unreasonable hazards to those working in and entering the mine.

"Murray Energy engaged in multiple acts of abusive and unconscionable behavior, subjecting the plaintiff to additional and inexcusable emotional pain and upset," the lawsuit claims.

Horton said he has suffered severe and permanent physical injuries, including pain and suffering, fear of death, uncertainty of his predicament and emotional and mental distress, the lawsuit states.





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