On April 17, 2007, Michael R. Wilt, a bulldozer operator, was working in the Tri-Star Mine in Barton, Maryland. Due to many foreseeable, substantial problems that existed in the mine, an avalanche occurred and Michael R. Wilt along with a team of workers were crushed beneath 93,000 tons of rock. Tri-Star was aware of the problem and allowed the conditions to exist and worsen over the years. They also failed to notify the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration of these issues, as the law requires.
Due to Tri-Star’s negligence and their failure to act in regard to the abandoned underground mine, tension cracks and heavy water infiltration lead to a four million ($4,000,000.00) dollar lawsuit filed against them. All of these conditions were known to Tri-Star, yet they still allowed men to work. During the avalanche so much of the retaining wall fell, that it took four days of heavy excavation to reach and recover the bodies of the miners that were trapped.
Six citations were issued to Tri-Star for violating safety laws. They consented to breaking each of these laws and paid over $100,000 as a penalty. Regardless of the fines issued, there is no dollar amount that can compensate for the lives lost in this avoidable misfortune.
Keith Franz is quoted in the following video. The video discusses the unfortunate events that led to this fatal tragedy.