The Quecreek Mine Rescue Foundation Saturday held the seventh anniversary celebration of the rescue of nine miners from the Quecreek Mine in Somerset County.
On July 24, 2002 miners broke through into an abandoned, water-filled mine flooding the Quecreek Mine with over 50 million gallons of water. Nine miners scrambled to safety, but nine were trapped in a pocket of air in the dark, cold, water-filled mine. They were rescued four days later through the combined efforts of state and federal mine rescue agencies and hundreds of workers and volunteers.
The celebration event included the kickoff of a capital campaign, which will be the core fundraising effort that allows the Foundation to complete the Education and Visitor Center. The Center’s museum will include exhibits featuring actual equipment and other artifacts from the rescue.
Bill Arnold, QMRF President, stated, “I am blessed and honored to be a part of something so big that has continued to draw visitors and volunteers to the rescue site over the past seven years. We are eternally grateful and inspired by those who continue to give their time, resources and financial support to make the Education and Visitor Center a reality.”
“With more than 10,000 visitors every year to the rescue site, we were just getting overwhelmed. The new visitors’ center will help us tell the story of the Quecreek miracle,” said Arnold. “This is a working farm and we used our own storage building to display the rescue capsule, drill bit and other equipment used in the rescue.”
In 2008 Gov. Rendell signed into law the first update to the Bituminous Coal Mine Safety Act in 45 years, prompted in part by the lessons learned from the Quecreek Mine Rescue.
In 2007 the General Assembly passed the Mine Families First Act to put into law the policies Gov. Mark Schweiker adopted to keep mine families involved in accidents informed of the progress of rescue operations before the media.
In 2006 the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission officially recognized the mine rescue site as part of the state Historical Marker Program erecting a blue and gold historic marker at the Arnold Farm. (click here to visit DEP's Quecreek Mine Rescue webpage.)