Body of Missing Nevada Miner Recovered

Rescue crews Wednesday recovered the body of a miner killed during a cave-in at an underground Nevada gold mine, authorities said.

Dirk Fillpot, a spokesman with the Mine Safety and Health Administration in Washington, D.C., said the miner was recovered and pronounced dead around 12 p.m.

He was identified as Curtis Johnson, 36, the married father of three children. He had been working since 2003 at the mine operated by Small Mining Development, an independent contractor based in Boise, Idaho.

"CJ was an outstanding person and an excellent underground miner. Words cannot express the sense of loss we at SMD feel today," SMD President Ron Guill said in a statement Wednesday.

Crews had been searching for Johnson since before dawn the previous day, when the ground gave way at the Getchell Mine east of

He was operating a bolter, a large piece of equipment used to drill bolts into the hard rock, when the accident occurred around 2 a.m. Tuesday.

The mine is a joint venture owned by Toronto-based Barrick Gold Corp. and Denver-based Newmont Mining Corp.

Barrick spokesman Lou Schack said the accident occurred about 2,000 feet from a portal, but the cave-in was confined to one area.

It is the second fatal mining accident in Nevada in as many months.

In June, Dan Shaw, 30, was killed when the ground gave way as he
was working on a loader at Newmont's Midas mine, another underground gold mine also near Winnemucca.

His body was recovered 13 days after the accident.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)