Fairview man killed when flash flood hits Emery County mine

Aug 2, 2021, 1:01 PM | Updated: Aug 17, 2023, 12:53 pm

(Emery County Sheriff's Office)...

(Emery County Sheriff's Office)

(Emery County Sheriff's Office)

HUNTINGTON, Utah — One man was killed after a flash flood hit the Gentry Mountain Mine, according to officials with the Emery County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities said floodwaters hit the surface of the mine, which is located in a side canyon in Huntington Canyon, just after 10 p.m. Sunday.

“As mine crews were heading up the hill to enter the Gentry Mountain coal mine, crews witnessed a wall of water and debris coming down Bear Canyon,” officials said.

Floodwaters and debris stuck three mine vehicles during the flood. The driver of the first truck was able to reach out and grab a tree, which pulled him from the vehicle.

Authorities said he was pushed a quarter-mile down the canyon before being transported to an area hospital. The man is expected to survive.

A second vehicle, which was carrying eight men, was struck by debris and rolled four times. Deputies said crews were able to kick out the windows and escape to safety.

The third vehicle was further down the canyon and saw the debris and floodwaters approaching them.

“When they saw the wall of water and debris, they were able to reverse the vehicle and attempted to move it out of the direct path of the flood but were unable to do so,” ECSO officials said. “They then exited to higher ground, but water and debris swept on both sides of them. One man was swept into the water and carried downstream.”

Authorities identified the victim as 48-year-old Gary Nelson, of Fairview, and said he had worked at the mine for the past 10 years.

Search and rescue crews recovered his body approximately 6 miles downstream around 11:15 a.m. Monday.

Officials said no underground personnel was impacted by the flood.

Emery County deputies said a GoFundMe* account has been established for Nelson’s wife and three daughters.

*KSL TV does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisers and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

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Fairview man killed when flash flood hits Emery County mine