Federal Officials Begin Investigating Fatal Mining Accident

Federal Officials Begin Investigating Fatal Mining Accident

Posted: Updated:

A St. Lawrence County coroner has identified the out-of-state miner killed in an underground accident at Empire State Mine in the town of Fowler.

Coroner Joseph White says the victim is 40 year old Brendan Demasters, who previously lived in Ohio. 

He died at Gouverneur Hospital Tuesday, about 90 minutes after the 11 a.m. accident.

White says explosives were being used when the accident happened.

Investigators from the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration were at the mine Wednesday to determine what happened.

They're expected to start removing equipment for testing and begin interviewing other workers.

The agency's website lists the cause as "Exploding Vessels Under Pressure." 

A source tells 7 News reporter Keith Benman that miners were using drills and explosives to clear rock and Demasters was using an air tool to clean out the hole when something on the equipment exploded.

The last person to die at the mine was in 2008. Forty-year-old Willard Clewis of Gouverneur was killed when a slab of rock fell on him while he was working below ground.

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