CRYSTAL SPRINGS, Miss.- Rescue organizations joined Gov. Phil Bryant in Crystal Springs at Green Brothers Gravel Company for a press conference on the recovery effort for two men buried in a gravel pit on the property.
“It is sufficient to say that all of those that have been involved since the incident, I think they’ve done a remarkable job. Our hearts and prayers go out to the families,” said Gov. Bryant. He said all rescue organizations will continue to work diligently to recover the men who were in the incident.
MEMA director Lee Smithson said this was an unprecedented event in the mining industry.
The gravel which collapsed, burying the two men on Friday, became what Smithson describes as a “sloshly” mixture. that created complications for machinery to get in and recover the men. Smithson said that now it is MEMA’s responsibility to have an effective recovery mission while keeping safe the lives of those on that team.
When the incident happened local responders came forward to conduct a rescue mission. Smithson says that while they did everything that they could, it was not successful. MEMA then stepped in along with the Mine Safety and Health Administration to formulate a plan.
“When this incident took place the responders from the local community risked their lives, they tried to do everything they could to come out and conduct a rescue operation. There were first responders that would have given their lives to rescue those two men,” said Smithson.
Smithson assured that everything humanly possible was done in the aftermath of this incident.
William Odel assistant district manager for the South Central district for the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) said that their sole priority at this time was to conduct an effective rescue mission but that after the completion of that mission there will be an investigation conducted to determine what caused the collapse.
24-hour operations have been planned until the recovery operation is completed. MSHA is there to ensure the safety of individuals helping in the recovery effort.
At this time Odel said that more equipment was on its way including pumps and a crane that will be utilized in the effort.
Norman Ford, Assistant Vice President of Green Brothers issued a statement for the company as he held back tears,
“We at Green Brothers from our heart wish to sincerely thank the people who have sent love concern and prayers especially to the families of this tragic loss. Please continue to ask for comfort for these families, and strength for us to press on for the only mission that matters, the recovery of our guys and their loved ones.”