On July 24 the Quecreek Mine Rescue Foundation hosted the 8th Anniversary of the Quecreek Mine Rescue at the rescue site on the Arnold Farm in Somerset County.
This year the anniversary linked two extraordinary events that happened in Somerset County just months apart-- the crash of Flight 93 on September 11, 2001 and the Quecreek Mine Rescue in July of 2002.
(Photo: new Visitor's Center (rear) and rescue shaft (foreground))
"These two events-- the tragic crash of Flight 93 and the miracle of rescuing nine trapped miners at Quecreek-- represent the extremes of our human experience," said Bill Arnold, President of the Quecreek Mine Rescue Foundation. "The loss of innocent life, but the heroism of the passengers as they fought for their lives. The shock of the accident that flooded the Quecreek mine and the miracle of the rescue."
"It is amazing to me these two events happened just miles apart in Somerset County and the public has the opportunity to learn about them both at our Anniversary this year," said Arnold.
The anniversary program began at 9:00 a.m. with a presentation by Jeff Reinbold, Project Site Coordinator for Flight 93, at the Flight 93 site. Reinbold presented an overview of plans for the Flight 93 Historic Site and took visitors on a special tour of the site.
Participants then moved to the Arnold Farm and the Quecreek Mine Rescue site at 11:00 for the mine rescue portion of the program.
Bill Arnold reported the outside of the Visitors' Center was just completed this week and they and volunteers plan to begin the inside in the coming weeks. He noted that Somerset Trust pledged a significant amount of funding to help complete the Center.
Sponsors of the event include: Somerset Trust and the Somerset Daily American.
“The rescue was a miracle, there’s no other way to describe it,” said Arnold. “People from all over the world have come to learn about the rescue, what coal mining is all about and how everyone worked together to save the lives of the miners.”
On July 24, 2002 miners broke through into an abandoned, water-filled mine flooding the Quecreek Mine with over 150 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 first year after the rescue we were overwhelmed by all the interest—we just ran a dairy farm before all this,” said Arnold. “We are grateful for all the help we receive from the public, our community and many public and private agencies to present the site to the public.”
Now more than 10,000 visitors a year visit the rescue site looking to learn more about the "Quecreek Miracle." The site became part of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission Historical Marker Program in 2006.
"We were very pleased this year to become an official affiliate of the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh," said Arnold. "It gives us connections to the largest history museum in Pennsylvania and the potential of telling our story of the miracle at Quecreek to many more visitors."
Contact the Quecreek Mine Rescue Foundation or make a donation by writing: 151 Haupt Road, Somerset, PA 15501, calling 814-445-4876 or by visiting www.9for9.org.
Flight 93, Quecreek Turned Somerset Into America's County
Museum To Tell Drama Of Quecreek Mine Rescue
Quecreek Recognizes 8th Anniversary, Partners With Flight 93
Mine Rescue Site Marks 8th Year