The Hecla-Greens Creek team that participated in the Central Mine Rescue Competition is pictured. The front row, from left, is Dustin McGillvray, J.P. Roulet, Adam Baker, Ryan Friend, Tim Katasse and Chris Gucker. The back row, from left, is Jeff Trego, John Howard and Al Morrison. (Courtesy photo | Greens Creek Mine)

The Hecla-Greens Creek team that participated in the Central Mine Rescue Competition is pictured. The front row, from left, is Dustin McGillvray, J.P. Roulet, Adam Baker, Ryan Friend, Tim Katasse and Chris Gucker. The back row, from left, is Jeff Trego, John Howard and Al Morrison. (Courtesy photo | Greens Creek Mine)

Competition trains rescuers for dire mining circumstances

Greens Creek finishes highly at mine rescue event

The Hecla Mining Company had an excellent showing at this year’s Central Mine Rescue Competition, as the top two teams were both Hecla teams.

The team from Greens Creek Mine in Juneau finished second out of eight teams, falling just behind another Hecla team from Lucky Friday, Idaho. The competition, held in Kellogg, Idaho from May 7-9, aims to help train and prepare the mine rescue teams and individual members to conduct risky emergency responses.

The Greens Creek team is comprised of Al Morrison, JP Roulet, Chris Gucker, Tim Katasse, Ryan Friend, Jeff Trego, Adam Baker, John Howard and Dustin McGillvray. Morrison is the trainer and Gucker is the captain.

Events at the competition include five events: a written test, field exercise, team technician skills evaluation, rope exercise, and a first aid exercise and skills evaluation. Greens Creek took home first place in the team technician skills evaluation and second place in the rope exercise. The rope exercise event is particularly exciting, as miners hang from hopes over rushing water to attempt to get someone to safety.

Members of the Greens Creek Mine rescue team participate in the rope exercise event at the Central Mine Rescue Competition in Kellogg, Idaho in May. (Courtesy photo | Greens Creek Mine)

Members of the Greens Creek Mine rescue team participate in the rope exercise event at the Central Mine Rescue Competition in Kellogg, Idaho in May. (Courtesy photo | Greens Creek Mine)

Michael Wegleitner, the corporate director of health and safety at Hecla, wrote in a release that this event can help prevent dangerous mining situations from getting much worse.

“These training contests help train and prepare the mine rescue teams and individual members to conduct some of the riskiest emergency responses undertaken,” Wegleitner wrote, “as they are called upon to travel deep into underground mines to find missing or trapped miners or recover mining operations in treacherous conditions following mine fires, explosions or cave-ins. They are truly special individuals who deserve our recognition.”

Members of the Greens Creek Mine rescue team participate in an event at the Central Mine Rescue Competition in Kellogg, Idaho in May. (Courtesy photo | Greens Creek Mine)

Members of the Greens Creek Mine rescue team participate in an event at the Central Mine Rescue Competition in Kellogg, Idaho in May. (Courtesy photo | Greens Creek Mine)

The present teams included: Teck — Pend Oreille, Washington; Coeur — Kensington, from Juneau; Coeur — Silvertip, British Columbia; U.S. Silver & Gold — Galena, Idaho; TATA Chemicals, Green River, Wyoming; Montana Tech and South Dakota School of Mines (combined team); Hecla — Greens Creek, from Juneau; and Hecla — Lucky Friday, Idaho.


• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at amccarthy@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.


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