BUTTE - Mining is about recovering precious ore, but sometimes miners have to recover something else that’s precious – human life. And that’s where mine rescue comes into play.
“The most important thing to come out of every mine is the miner because without the miner you don’t have production and there’s really no point if you can’t do something safely,” said Montana Tech alum and geological engineer Cooper Knoll.
Montana Tech kicked off its mine rescue competition event that featured three mining schools from the region. Members from the Rosebud Mine Rescue team from Colstrip held a demonstration involving rescuing a wounded man from the top of a head frame. Montana Tech Mining Professor Scott Rosenthal played the role of the injured man.
“I had the easy part, I just had to keep my arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times, so it was really smooth and comfortable. These guys know what they’re doing. Never had a worry at all,” said Rosenthal.
Even though there was one tense moment in the beginning.
“I know, I’m not actually the biggest fan of heights, which is odd because I’m usually the one doing this, but it’s not too terrible once you get over the edge,” said Rosebud Mine Rescue team member Cameron Ator.
This is the first time Montana Tech has hosted this event.
“It’s a great networking opportunity for the students, the people you meet here, you can potentially end up being on a professional mine rescue team,” said Knoll.
Alec is with the South Dakota School of Mines, he’s wearing a Draeger BG4, this is breathing apprentice he wears on his back, so if he’s going to go into a situation where he’s got to wear this, there’s definitely trouble and it’s dangerous, you want these guys and gals on your side if you get in trouble in a mine.
“You know, we’re all workers, we know the mine better than anyone else, so we know exactly where to go, the best way to get there and we care because it’s our coworkers,” said Capt. Clint Gonzales of the Rosebud Mine Rescue.