LANSING: Emergency crews rescued four of 17 miners who were stuck for hours in an elevator 900 feet underground at a central New York salt mine that’s the deepest in the Western Hemisphere, officials said Thursday.
Mark Klein, a spokesman for Minneapolis, Minnesota-based Cargill Inc., said four miners were hoisted to the surface in a basket around 7 a.m. at the company’s Cayuga Salt Mine in Lansing, in the Finger Lakes region about 40 miles outside Syracuse.
Efforts to rescue the other 13 miners were continuing. Klein said they were not in danger.
Klein said the elevator — large enough to accommodate a forklift — got stuck around 10 p.m. Wednesday while descending to the floor of the 2,300-foot-deep mine. Emergency workers were able to communicate via radio with the miners, who had blankets, heat packs and other supplies lowered to them.
The mine, which Klein said is the deepest salt mine in the Western Hemisphere, produces road salt that is shipped throughout the northeastern United States. The is located on the shore of Cayuga Lake and extends beneath its waters.
Mining at the Lansing site began 100 years ago. Cargill bought the mine in 1970 and today employs 200 workers at the operation, Klein said.
The company conducts evacuation drills annually, Klein said.
“While we hope to never make use of that practice, it’s helping us today,” he said.