Sufco mine rescue team wins regional competition

Safety • 18 squads from five states responded to mock disaster scenarios.
This is an archived article that was published on in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The mine rescue team from Canyon Fuel Co.'s Sufco coal mine outside of Salina defeated 17 other teams from five states last week at the Four Corners Mine Rescue Competition in Farmington, N.M.

Teams are required to overcome obstacles that might be encountered in a real mine disaster and to rescue survivors. They are judged on their knowledge of mine-rescue principles, mapping skills, overall organization, attention to detail and teamwork.

Members of the Sufco team were captain Justus Norcross, gas man Brett Nowers, map man Evan Johansen, first aid officer Sean Winn, co-captain Jesse Bell, briefing officer Brady Huntsman, team trainer Brett Allred, mine safety manager Gary Leaming and alternates Brady Baker and Yancy Snyder.

Norcross also took first place in the "novice" bench competition and third overall in the bench category, which involves identifying and fixing problems with breathing apparatuses needed to fend off potentially deadly gases emitted by a fire or explosion.

"What an outstanding performance for Sufco's emergency responders," said Ken May, Sufco's general manager. "When we train and compete, we're continuously improving our skills and furthering safety as a core value."

Sufco is one of three Utah coal mines operated by Canyon Fuels, a subsidiary of St. Louis-based Arch Coal Inc., which produces coal for customers in 25 countries on five continents. The others are Dugout Canyon and Skyline.

Mike Gorrell