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Investigation begins into death of Hecla miner

The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration has begun its investigation into the accident that killed a man at Hecla Mining Co.’s Lucky Friday mine in Mullan, Idaho, last week.

“At this time, I can’t say how long that might take and when the report will be out,” Amy Louviere, a spokeswoman for MSHA, said in an email. “To determine the cause of the accident, there must first be extensive interviews with witnesses, an examination of the accident site and equipment and the gathering of physical evidence. This can take weeks, sometimes months.”

Contract employee Brandon Lloyd Gray, 26, was critically injured Thursday while working at the mine. He died early Saturday. A second miner was injured in the accident but was treated and released. That miner has not been identified.

Gray was an employee of Cementation U.S.A., which is under contract with Hecla to sink the No. 4 shaft to nearly 9,000 feet. Gray was working underground when he was trapped in a rock bin that was being excavated.

Thursday’s accident came seven months after miner Larry “Pete” Marek was killed when his work area at the Lucky Friday caved in and he was buried.