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Two injured in underground mining accident outside Batavia

Posted at 4:57 PM, Dec 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-05 17:28:37-05

BATAVIA, Ohio — Two workers were injured deep underground Wednesday afternoon while mining limestone at Arch Materials, a quarry outside the city of Batavia. Both remained hospitalized at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center overnight.

"We know that two workers sustained non-life threatening injuries after rock debris fell on their safety cage," read a statement from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources on Thursday.

Although parent company Rogers Group declined to provide a statement Wednesday, calls to 911 and conversations between dispatchers created a harrowing portrait of the initial scene: The two wounded workers stuck over a mile underground while two medical helicopters traveled to the scene to extract them.

“I’m on the surface,” the first 911 caller told Clermont County dispatch around 3 p.m. “I was told two guys got hurt. I don’t know how or what’s going on just yet.”

A dispatcher communicating with the helicopters later provided more details.

“Twenty-year-old male was approximately a mile and a half down while mining, and he was encaged,” she said. “A three-to-five-foot boulder fell on top of the cage they were in. From reports, it pancaked the cage.”

The victim reported back, neck, chest and limb pain to the medical teams that arrived to help them, according to other calls. One team called for trauma doctors to be ready at the hospital; another described “big bulges” on one victim’s leg.

Roger Maham, a farmer who lives nearby, said he saw an emergency crew barrel down the road toward the site Wednesday afternoon.

“I didn’t know which way it turned or which way it went or anything until I heard that they had an incident,” Maham said. “It happens, it’s a dangerous job just like anything else.”

The ODNR Division of Mineral Resource Management said it is currently investigating the incident in partnership with the Mine Safety and Health Administration.

Arch Materials declined to comment.