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Two miners are dead and 20 others injured after an accident at the Revenue-Virginius mine in Ouray on Sunday, according to Marti Whitmore, spokeswoman for Ouray County.
"There were two miners who didn't get out on their own, and the rescue operation was to retrieve them. When they were brought out they were declared fatalities," she said.
At least 14 were affected by gases in the explosion, nitrogen dioxide and carbon dioxide, according to the Watch.
Rory Williams, project manager for Star Mine Operations, told the Ouray Watch newspaper ( http://(link tracking not allowed)/1ajQLAs ) the accident was not related to a cave-in or mine collapse but was apparently a "powder-smoke incident," and that the release of chemicals in the smoke injured the miners.
On-scene public information officer Mari Whitmore confirmed the two fatalities. "A rescue was initiated for two miners who remained underground. Unfortunately, they have both been confirmed as fatalities at the site by the County Coroner," she said in a 4:15 p.m. release.
One of the 20 injured was reportedly in critical condition and was intialy taken to Montrose Memorial Hospital. An additional nine people were also transported by ambulance to Montrose Memorial; five people were transported to Delta Memorial Hospital; and five people were taken to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction. Of the 20 taken to hospitals, 18 were treated and released.
Two remained hospitalized at 5 p.m., 7NEWS reporter Jaclyn Allen said. There was no updated information on the condition of the 20 miners and their identities have not been released, as of 4:15 p.m. Officials were in the process of notifying families of the miners.
Star Mine Operations, LLC, the owner of the mine, has confirmed that they have accounted for all personnel who were on site. Mine manager Rory Williams told the newspaper the injuries were a result of miners breathing in gases and chemicals in the air following a blast. The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) is involved and at the mine.