Utah mine survivor coping with loss of cousin, plans return to job
By JIM DALRYMPLE II
The Salt Lake TribuneFirst published Mar 23 2013 03:40PM
Huntington • Dallen McFarlane, bumped and very bruised after being rescued from a mine cave-in Friday, said Saturday he was trying to deal with the loss of a co-worker killed in the accident and that he planned to return to mining once healed.
Although reluctant to say much when contacted by phone, the 26-year-old described the accident as "just something that happens," saying he couldn’t add any details.
Like everyone else, he said, he will wait for the accident report.
Authorities have said part of a tunnel roof fell on McFarlane and Elam Jones on Friday afternoon in the Rhino coal mine near the mouth of Huntington Canyon in Emery County, killing Jones, 29.
Rescue crews managed to pull McFarlane out of the mine relatively quickly. He was taken to Castleview Hospital in Price and treated and released.
McFarlane said Saturday he didn’t think the accident was the result of problems or shortcomings associated with the mine operation.
According to McFarlane, the accident left him sore and "pretty beat up" but otherwise OK. He suffered bruising on his neck and chest and injured his foot. His knee was also injured and may require surgery.
"We’re going to be all right," he added.
After recovering, McFarlane, who is married with children, plans to return to coal mining, a job he says pays well and one that he enjoys because he isn’t stuck behind a desk.
Every job, he said, has risks.
"You can get killed driving down the road just as easy."
McFarlane said he and Jones were cousins who both worked the same machinery. They had been working together for "a year or two." Jones was a great guy, McFarlane recalled, who would "keep you laughing" down in the mine.
In August 2007, Jones and McFarlane participated in the rescue operation at the Crandall Canyon Mine. The disaster claimed nine lives, including six miners and three rescuers who died in an implosion 10 days later. Six rescuers were injured.