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Troy Mine employee injured in accident

by Canda HarbaughWestern News
| May 2, 2009 12:00 AM

A Libby man was airlifted to Kalispell after a vehicle pinned him against a building Friday morning at Troy Mine.

Ken Walton, an underground miner, underwent surgery Friday afternoon at Kalispell Regional Medical Center for two broken legs, according to John Shanahan, chief executive officer for Revett Minerals, Troy Mine’s parent company.

Though details are unclear, officials from Revett said that at about 7 a.m. during shift change Walton was pinned between a company pickup and a steel bin resting against the company’s front office.

“Whoever was starting the vehicle lunged forward and he (Walton) wasn’t able to get out of the way, is my understanding,” said Carson Rife, Revett’s vice president of operations.

An employee who is also an emergency medical technician tended to Walton until Troy Volunteer Ambulance arrived. Shortly afterward, a helicopter landed at the mine and transported Walton to Kalispell.

Though operations continued, workers were given the option to go home.

“We are mindful that one of our own got injured here,” Shanahan said. “The guys were upset, so we said, if you want to go work, fine. If you need to take a day, take a day.”

Details concerning Walton’s condition were vague.

“He was still in surgery the last we knew,” Rife said at about 4:30 p.m. Friday. “We’re hoping for the best.”