Sunday, October 9, 2011

Somerset, Pennsylvania: Quecreek Mine Rescue Site Memorial

Back in 2002, 18 miners in the Somerset area accidentally broke through into a flooded mine. Nine of them were trapped.

An massive rescue effort immediately followed. Crews on the surface had to figure out where exactly the miners were, and then they had to figure out a way to help them. Once the location was determined, a small hole was drilled down by the trapped miners to pump air into the area and keep the water out. Then a larger hole was drilled, and the men were carried, one by one, to the surface.

The good part is, all nine survived. The entry spot into the mine was 1.5 miles from where the workers were rescued (after 77 or so hours of being trapped), as they were pulled up on a farm off Route 985. Bill and Lori Arnold, the farm's owners, embraced the concept of a tribute to miners who survived and the workers who tirelessly enabled them to be rescued. This nice little park, just off the road, is that tribute. Besides the area pictured here, the tunnels are marked, and trees have been planted nearby. The farm house had added a bit of a museum to mark the event, and fundraising is taking place to make it better and perhaps move it to a public location.

The place is easy to find -- it's north of exit 110 of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Follow Route 601 North, which turns into Route 985. There are signs along the way.

The area needed a bit of a boost, since Flight 93 crashed a dozen or so miles away from this spot in 2001. It's nice that the event is remembered this way.

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