Sheriff’s office releases name of miner killed in Emery County 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

EMERY COUNTY, Utah, Aug. 3, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — The Emery County Sheriff’s Office has released the name of the man killed Sunday when he and his coworkers were caught in a flash flood while trying to report to their coal mining shifts at the Gentry Mountain Mine sight in Bear Canyon.

The name of the victim was Gary Nelson.

“Gary Nelson, a 48-year-old resident of Fairview, UT, had worked at the mine for the past 10 years,” the ECSO statement says. “He leaves behind a wife and three daughters.

“ECSO has verified that this is a legitimate GoFundMe account set up by a family member. Our deepest condolences go to Gary’s family, friends and co-workers at this difficult time.”

The Emery County Sheriff’s Office announced just after noon Monday that the body of a miner, now revealed to be Nelson, has been recovered, and a second man who was carried away is expected to survive.

“A devastating flash flood event on the surface at the Gentry Mountain Mine in Emery County took the life of one man,” the Monday ECSO statement says.

Three vehicles carrying miners were impacted by the flood. The man who died was in the third, and was swept away after attempting to escape to higher ground.

First vehicle

The man expected to make a full recovery was in the first vehicle.

“At approximately 10:15 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 1, 2021, as mine crews were heading up the hill to enter the Gentry Mountain coal mine, crews witnessed a wall of water and debris coming down Bear Canyon. One man just coming off shift in a two-person mine vehicle was the first to be impacted. As the flood overtook his vehicle, he was able to reach out and grab a tree which pulled him from the vehicle.”

The man was unable to hold onto the tree and was then carried about a quarter-mile down the canyon. He was transported to a hospital and is expected to recover, the statement says.

Second vehicle

Occupants of the second vehicle suffered no serious injuries.

“A second mine vehicle, carrying eight men up to the coal mine, was then hit by the flood and debris. The flood caused the vehicle to roll four times. Crews were able to kick out the windows and escape to safety.”

Third vehicle

The third mine vehicle, which had carried Nelson, was father down the canyon, the sheriff’s statement says.

“When they saw the wall of water and debris, they were able to reverse the vehicle and attempted to move it out of the direct path of the flood but were unable to do so. They then exited to higher ground, but water and debris swept on both sides of them. One man was swept into the water and carried downstream.

“Personnel from Gentry Mountain Mine, Emery County Sheriff’s Office and Emery County Search and Rescue searched throughout the night and continued searching this morning. The body of the missing man was recovered at 11:15 this morning, approximately six miles downstream.”

“The State DPS helicopter aided in the search, along with DWR and their canines. Other agencies assisting were Huntington Fire Department, Emery County Road, Butler Trucking, UDOT, PacifiCorp Huntington Power Plant, Adult Probation and Parole and Emery County EMS,” the sheriff’s statement continues.

“It should be noted that this was a surface flood event and did not impact underground personnel. ECSO sends deepest condolences to the family of the victim as well as the entire Gentry Mining family.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here