Crystal Springs, Miss – Copiah County Emergency Management and Sherriff’s Department, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and “Mississippi Task Force 2” search team have completed operations with the recovery of the second trapped worker at the Green Brothers Gravel Pit near Crystal Springs Saturday morning.
The first employee, James Hemphill was located at 1:30 a.m. Thursday and his body was recovered at approximately 6:30 a.m. The second employee, whose identity will be confirmed by the Copiah County Coroner, was located at 9:50 p.m. on Friday, and his body was recovered at 6:50 a.m. Saturday.
With the oversight of the Mine Safety and Health Administration, “Mississippi Task Force 2” search and rescue team recovered both workers after eight days to bring closure to the families involved in this incident.
“As tragic of an incident that occurred here at Green Brothers Gravel Company, it shows the support and love Mississippians have for one another,” said Copiah County Emergency Management Director Randle Drane. “The entire Copiah County community will be stronger because of this incident. Both the Copiah County and Mississippi Emergency Management agencies would like to express our condolences and offer our prayers to the families of both workers.”
Dozens of volunteer groups, including the Hopewell Volunteer Fire Department, local churches, the Salvation Army and American Red Cross, gave valuable time and resources during this incident.
The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration will conduct a thorough investigation of the accident.
On June 3 at approximately 11:30 a.m. there was a dam breach above the gravel pit where the men were working which caused a massive landslide. As a result, the men and their equipment were buried in more than 10 feet of thick sludge and slurry.
Green Brothers Company and the MSHA were in control of the recovery operation with support provided by Copiah County and the state as requested through a unified command.
The Mississippi Department of Public Safety implemented the “Mississippi Emergency Access Program” (MEAP) in this incident. The MEAP issued credentials and placards to all organizations needing access to the scene and tracked their entry and exit through mobile software.