No criminal charges will be filed in last year’s Quecreek Mine accident, which trapped nine coal miners underground for 78 hours, Pennsylvania Attorney General Mike Fisher and U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan said Thursday.
A yearlong investigation by a state grand jury found insufficient evidence that anyone involved in the permitting or operation of the mine had acted recklessly or that they had knowingly or willfully violated safety standards, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Fisher said the accident represented a “failure of regulation.”
The July 24, 2002, accident occurred when miners, thinking they were still 300 feet away from the old mine, broke into it, unleashing a torrent of water that flooded the tunnels.
Howard Messer, an attorney representing seven of the nine miners who were trapped, said the decision not to press criminal charges will have no effect on the lawsuit he has filed on behalf of six of those miners against the owners, mine engineers and other parties.