coal mineA coal miner trapped underground for nearly four hours earlier this month got out alive, thanks to the efforts of company personnel and Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) officials – who happened to be at the mine to conduct an inspection.

The incident at the New Future Mine in Galatia, Ill. occurred at approximately 9 a.m. on August 14, when a portion of the mine’s roof collapsed, trapping a worker behind tons of fallen rubble.

Rescue operations began immediately, with company and MSHA personnel shoring up the roof.

"We wanted to make sure the entire area was adequately supported, so no one else would get hurt," said Robert Hatcher, the MSHA inspector who’d been preparing to go underground when the collapse occurred.

Rescuers stayed in constant communication with the trapped miner and reached him just before 1 p.m. He exited the mine, relieved and uninjured.

Without skipping a beat, Hatcher resumed his duties. "When I saw that the miner was safe, I continued with my inspection."