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15th anniversary of Somerset’s Quecreek Mine rescue will be celebrated | TribLIVE.com
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15th anniversary of Somerset’s Quecreek Mine rescue will be celebrated

Joe Napsha
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Tribune-Review
Thomas Foy, of Berlin, is rescued from the Quecreek Mine in the early morning hours of July 28, 2002.
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A letter written by Dennis Hill, one of the miners tapped 240 feet under ground in the Quecreek Mine in Lincoln Township, Somerset County, July 24, 2002. (Andrew Russell/Tribune-Review)
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A letter written by Tom Foy, one of the miners tapped 240 feet under ground in the Quecreek Mine in Lincoln Township, Somerset County, July 24, 2002. (Andrew Russell/Tribune-Review)
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MSHA
Photo shows break-through point inside Quecreek Mine. Left side of hole gives viewer an idea of depth of wall between the Quecreek Mine and Saxman Mine. Preliminary Investigation Photos These pictures are a few from the initial investigation. They were added to the MSHA.gov site 09/10/2002.
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MSHA
Photo Shows 26 inch rescue hole through which the yellow rescue capsule was lowered down into area where trapped miners were waiting inside Quecreek Mine. Preliminary Investigation Photos These pictures are a few from the initial investigation. They were added to the MSHA.gov site 09/10/2002.
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MSHA
Photo shows break-through point inside Quecreek Mine. Water flowing at much lower level can be seen in this view inside adjacent Saxman Mine. Preliminary Investigation Photos These pictures are a few from the initial investigation. They were added to the MSHA.gov site 09/10/2002.
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A letter written by Robert Pugh Jr., one of the miners tapped 240 feet under ground in the Quecreek Mine in Lincoln Township, Somerset County, July 24, 2002. (Andrew Russell/Tribune-Review)
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A letter written by John Phillippi, one of the miners tapped 240 feet under ground in the Quecreek Mine in Lincoln Township, Somerset County, July 24, 2002. (Andrew Russell/Tribune-Review)
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A letter written by Blaine Mayhugh, one of the miners tapped 240 feet under ground in the Quecreek Mine in Lincoln Township, Somerset County, July 24, 2002. (Andrew Russell/Tribune-Review)
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A letter written by one of the miners tapped 240 feet under ground in the Quecreek Mine in Lincoln Township, Somerset County, July 24, 2002. (Andrew Russell/Tribune-Review)
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Tribune-Review
Miners watch as a large drill (left) burrows into the earth in an effort to reach miners trapped in the Quecreek Mine. The drilling rig on the right had drilled a 6-inch pipe 240 feet into the mine which was being used to pump pressurized air in order to create an air bubble for the trapped miners. (Guy Wathen/Tribune-Review)
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A sign only a few miles from where miners were rescued in Quecreek. Sunday July 28, 2002.
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Eric Schmadel
A sticker commemorating the Quecreek mine rescue on the rescue capsule at the Arnold Farm photographed on July 24, 2007 near Quecreek, Somerset County. (Eric Schmadel/Tribune-Review)
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Eric Schmadel
Ed Popernack, father of rescued miner Mark Popernack, stands by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission marker commemorating the Quecreek Mine accident and rescue after its unveiling on July 29, 2006 near Quecreek. Poperncak and Russell Hess, father of former DEP secretary David Hess, had the honor of unveiling the sign.
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Handful after handful, Bill Thompson, of Hidden Valley, Pa., scoops just a little bit of sand underneath each cobblestone block on Wednesday morning July 20, 2005 to level off each piece in the walkway he was creating. The walkway, which will allow visitors to have easy access to the Quecreek Mine rescue site, is part of the new visitor’s area on the Dormel’s Somerset County farm. In the background, the original tunnel site to the rescue the miners can be seen.
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Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Bill Arnold, exectuive director of the Quecreek Mine Rescue Foundation museum shows, on Friday, Jan. 31, 2014, a mixture of artifacts originally owned by the nine rescued miners who were trapped 240 feet below the earth for 77 hours in 2002. Next week, Arnold will be receiving a second shipment of artifacts donated by the Windber Coal Heritage Center, which has closed and donated hundreds of pieces to the museum.
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The 15th anniversary of the dramatic rescue of nine Somerset County miners trapped some 240 feet underground for 77 hours in July 2002 will be celebrated this year with several events, including a tour of the site where the shaft was drilled to bring the miners above ground.

A community celebration featuring entertainment, food and children’s activities is being planned for July 29 at the Quecreek mine rescue site along Haupt Road, according to Anna Weltz, a spokeswoman for the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau in Ligonier, which is helping to coordinate the event. It will include tours of the rescue site and the telling of the story about the rescue of the trapped miners, Weltz said.

The rescue of the miners — who became trapped in a flooded mine on July 24, 2002 — drew national and international attention. State agencies and private companies worked side by side in the rescue, working around the clock to drill down to a location where officials believed the men could be reached. Gov. Mark Schweiker announced late on July 27 that all nine miners were found alive; they were lifted to freedom one at a time in a metal cage late on July 27 and continuing into July 28.

The massive rescue effort occurred about 10 miles from the crash of United Airlines Flight 93, which plowed into an abandoned strip mine site near Shanksville as passengers fought terrorists who had taken over the plane during the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

The festivities will begin on July 26 with a sporting clay shoot at Seven Springs Mountain Resort to raise money for the Quecreek Mine Rescue Foundation, which oversees the mine rescue site, which includes a statue of a miner and a visitors center.

A media gathering is planned for July 27 at the Dormel Farm, which is the site of the mine rescue shaft.

Bill Arnold, owner of Dormel Farm, plans to reach out to those miners who were rescued at the site and invite them to the events, Weltz said.

Tens of thousands of people have visited the rescue site, according to the foundation.

Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-5252 or [email protected].

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