Miner Mark Popernack is rescued from the Quecreek Mine in the early morning of July 28, 2002 in Somerset, Pennsylvania. All nine miners were successfully rescued after being trapped in a flooded mine shaft since July 24, 2002 which was located approximately 240 feet underground.
CNN  — 

Here’s some background information about the Quecreek Mine Rescue. From July 24 through 28, 2002, nine coal miners were trapped for 77 hours in the Pennsylvania mine. All survived.


Nine coal miners from Quecreek Mining Inc. in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, were trapped in a four-foot-high chamber 240 feet below the surface after breaching a wall separating their mine from an older, flooded shaft.

50 to 60 million gallons of water flooded the mine when a wall to a mine, last worked in the 1950s, was broken through.

A 6-inch hole, drilled by rescuers, pumped air from the surface, maintaining an air pocket and pressurizing the chamber as water was being pumped out.

The miners were removed one-by-one in a 22-inch wide cage through a drilled 24-inch hole.

The wall collapse took place about 8,000 feet from the mine’s entrance.

Quecreek mine is owned by Mincorp Inc. and operated by Black Wolf Coal Co.

Quecreek Mining Co. (PBS Coals) obtained its mining permit in 1999 and opened the Quecreek mine in early 2000.

The nine miners were to get overtime for the 77 hours in the mine.

All nine miners sold the rights to their story to Walt Disney Co. in a deal that will give them $150,000 each.

Hyperion Publishing, a division of Walt Disney Co., bought the rights to the miners’ story in book form.

The Nine Miners

Order in Which They Were Rescued:
1st: Randy Fogle, 43
2nd: Harry B. Mayhugh, 31
3rd: Tom Foy, 51
4th: John Unger, 52
5th: John Phillippi, 36
6th: Ronald Hileman, 49
7th: Dennis Hall, 49
8th: Robert Pugh, 50
9th: Mark Popernack, 41


July 24, 2002 - Nine miners become trapped 240 feet below ground inside the Quecreek mine.

July 28, 2002 - All nine miners are rescued from the mine.

August 12, 2003 - The Labor Department finds outdated and inaccurate maps that dated back to 1957 led to the accident.

September 19, 2003 - State and federal grand juries decline to bring criminal charges against the mine owners, operators and surveying company.

July 29, 2006 - Quecreek mine is dedicated as a state historical site.

July 28, 2007 - A small ceremony is held marking the five year anniversary. Six of the nine miners along with the governor attend.

March 6, 2009 - Eight of the nine miners settle a lawsuit with mine operator PBS Coals.

April 21, 2011 - An administrative judge upholds the ruling that PBS Coals should pay a $55,000 penalty for “gross negligence” in the 2002 accident.

July 23-28, 2012 - Quecreek Mine Rescue Foundation commemorates the 10th anniversary of the rescue with a six-day celebration at the Dormel Farms owned by Bill and Lori Arnold, where the rescue took place. Festivities include a ribbon-cutting ceremony, Boy Scout flag presentation and speeches by state politicians.