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Officials still trying to determine how an elevator got stuck in salt mine, trapping 17 miners

Simon Wheeler
The Ithaca Journal
The miners were rescued Thursday morning from the Cayuga Salt Mine in Lansing.

Seventeen miners were rescued this morning after spending about 10 hours stuck overnight in the Cayuga Salt Mine elevator shaft 900 feet below the earth in Lansing. Law enforcement and fire safety officials said they are thankful the rescue went smoothly.

Mark Klein of Cargill, which operates the mine says they are still assessing what caused the elevator to stop while the miners were descending into the salt mine.

"These are large cars, elevator cars, they can hold heavy equipment as well as people," Klein said at a news conference.

Klein said one theory is that a steel guide that keeps the elevator shaft centered was bent.

Dennis Griffin, the assistant chief of the Lansing Fire Department, said many different agencies came together to execute a safe rescue.

“We weren’t all happy until the last one got off the elevator,” Griffin said. "That’s when we all stand, we look at each other, and we say, ‘This was a win. We’re all going home. We’re all safe.'”

A crane with a safety cage was brought in, lowered to the stuck elevator and workers were brought up a few at a time. No injuries were reported. Cargill has yet to determine when the salt mine will reopen.