Coal mine tour features real rescue

When teaching about the terrific dangers of coal mining suddenly becomes all too real.

About fifty people were on Pennsylvania's Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour when the mine car lost power. The tourists then got to experience the joys of a mine evacuation, though without the impending collapse or suffocation. The children were scared. The mine operators are probably scared this revenue stream may be closed off, as coal mining in Pennsylvania's future ends when all the coal is out of the ground. Mine tours reminding people of how dangerous mining is will stop being exciting if people keep getting trapped, like the miners.

"There was some sort of mechanical error, and we had to come up through the emergency capsule, so me and the kids came up, and we are still waiting for my husband," said Brynn Cicippio.

Once the decision was made to start evacuating people from the mine, operators used a metal cage to pull everyone to the surface.

"It was about 15 years ago that they broke an axle on the car, and they had to use it the last time," said Lackawanna Coal Mine Foreman Edmund Neidlinger. "I'm here eight years and never had to use it."

Mine Foreman Edmund Neidlinger controlled the winch that lifted the emergency cage up and down.

The cage only fits about three or four people at a time. Neidlinger says it took roughly two hours to bring everyone to safety.


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