Saturday, June 5, 2010

Uranium mine victim hoped to become a mechanic

Comment:  So sad and uranium mining has a high death rate in Utah!

Miner's funeral:
Services for uranium miner Hunter Diehl, killed in a May 26 accident, will be held at noon Saturday at River of Life Christian Church in Moab.

The Salt Lake Tribune
Updated: 06/03/2010 07:29:09 PM MDT

A mechanic by trade, Hunter Diehl figured his best shot of getting a job working on the big equipment involved in southeastern Utah's reviving uranium industry was to start as a miner.

But the 28-year-old Moab man's career ambitions were cut short May 26 when he was killed by a falling rock while working underground at the Pandora uranium mine outside of La Sal, San Juan County, southeast of Moab.

Under investigation by the federal Mine Safety & Health Administration, the Pandora accident is the eighth fatality this year in mines that excavate materials other than coal. There have been 36 coal mining deaths nationally.

Diehl was born Dec. 4, 1981, in Grand Junction, Colo. to Jean Caine and Jeff Diehl. He was introduced to mechanics at a young age by his late grandfather, Jack Caine.

"Grandpa taught him everything he knew," said Diehl's sister, Alisha, adding that her brother also enjoyed fishing the Colorado River and "doing anything he could do outside, no matter what it was."

After high school, Diehl worked as a mechanic for Moab 4x4 Outpost. He lived for some time in Grand Junction with his wife, Jessie Cruz, before they returned to Moab.

Diehl then was hired by Moab-based Reliance

Resources, which was doing the mining work at Pandora under contract from Denison Mines (USA) Corp., a Canadian company with offices in Denver.

"He started with whatever kind of work they gave him, hoping that would help him get his foot in the door so that he could eventually become a mechanic," Alisha Diehl said.

"We were all really close as brothers and sisters," Alisha Diehl said. "We were the only constants in each others' lives."

She said the community has been quite supportive of the extended Diehl family, even "many people who didn't know him."

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