Cox tweet honors childhood friend killed in flash flood

Gary Nelson is the miner who died after being swept away in a flash flood in Emery County on Sunday, Aug. 1, 2021. Photo: Emery County Sheriff's Office/GoFundMe

FAIRVIEW, Utah, Aug. 5, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, who grew up in Sanpete County’s Fairview and still lives there when he’s not in the Governor’s Mansion, revealed in a tweet Thursday night that the man killed in a flash flood Sunday at the Gentry Mine in Emery County was a childhood friend.

Gary Nelson, 48, and Cox, 46, grew up knowing each other.

“This is a rough one for my little town,” Cox said in a tweet issued Thursday night. “Gary and I grew up together, and I was with his parents just a couple weeks ago. Coal mining is a difficult and challenging profession, but this flash flood caught everyone by surprise. Love and prayers for his family.”

A GoFundMe account has been established to help Nelson’s wife and three daughters. The account has been confirmed as legitimate by the Emery County Sheriff’s Office. Cox’s tweet also shared a link to the account.

Nelson is believed to have died on Sunday after he was swept away by the flash flood. His body was recovered Monday. A second man who was carried away is expected to survive.

The flash flood hit at a shift change, at about 10:15 p.m., and impacted arriving miners in three vehicles.

The man expected to recover was in the first vehicle. He was swept about a quarter-mile by the wall of water, and was found and transported to a hospital. The second vehicle, carrying eight miners, rolled four times before the occupants were able to kick out a window and escape to safety, a statement by the Emery County Sheriff’s Office says.

The third mine vehicle was able to partially move out of the path of the water, and the occupants, including Nelson, were able to escape to higher ground, but water and debris swept by and carried Nelson away.




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