2nd body of 2 missing workers recovered from gravel pit

AP News
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Posted: Jun 11, 2016 2:12 PM
2nd body of 2 missing workers recovered from gravel pit

CRYSTAL SPRINGS, Miss. (AP) — Rescuers on Saturday recovered the body of a second man who disappeared in a landslide at a gravel pit in southern Mississippi earlier this month.

The second body was found around 9:50 p.m. Friday and removed Saturday morning, said Mississippi Emergency Management Agency spokesman Ray Coleman. The man's body was taken to the Copiah County coroner's office for an autopsy.

The worker was found trapped in the slurry near equipment he had been operating when he and the other man were buried in 10 feet to 12 feet of mud, slush and sluice on June 3.

The body of the first worker was recovered Thursday morning inside a piece of equipment.

MEMA director Lee Smithson has identified the two missing men in a Facebook message as Emmitt Shorter and James "Dee" Hemphill and offered condolences to their families.

The two men had been operating heavy equipment for Green Brothers Gravel Company at a pit in Crystal Springs, according to officials from the Mine Safety and Health Administration.

The federal agency will begin investigating the possible causes of the incident now that recovery efforts are over.

"The first priority was to get the two men out," MSHA spokeswoman Amy Louviere said Saturday. "It's too early to speculate about what the cause might have been."

MSHA has cited this particular mine for 26 "significant & substantial" violations since 1993, according to online records. Green Brothers, based in Crystal Springs, also operates other gravel mines.

A state task force of emergency workers helped recover the bodies.

"They were unbelievable. They worked countless hours," Coleman said.