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Mine accident injures employee

by Canda Harbaugh & Western News
| May 5, 2009 12:00 AM

A Troy Mine employee suffered two broken legs Friday in an accident at the Revett Minerals facility.

Ken Walton, a miner who lives in Libby, was said to be “doing pretty well” on Sunday after undergoing surgery two days earlier at Kalispell Regional Medical Center. Walton was injured when a vehicle pinned him against a building at the Troy Mine on Friday morning.

John Shanahan, chief executive officer for Revett, said Walton went into surgery for two broken legs.

“I heard yesterday that he was doing pretty well,” Carson Rife, Revett’s vice president of operations, said Monday morning. “I’m not too sure what the details (of the surgery) are, but they put a pin in one leg, and he’s doing OK.”

Though details of the accident are still uncertain, 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 mine’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,” Rife said.

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.”