SPOKANE, Wash — US Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis promised a thorough investigation yesterday into the death of an Idaho silver miner whose body was recovered from the Lucky Friday Mine nine days after a ceiling collapse more than a mile under the surface.
The body of Larry Marek, 53, was found Easter Sunday, and it appeared that he died during the initial cave-in.
“After more than a week of valiant, round-the-clock efforts to locate him, rescue workers made the tragic discovery on Sunday that he had not survived the April 15 roof fall at Lucky Friday Mine,’’ Solis, whose department oversees mine safety, said in a press release.
“Larry’s family deserves to have answers,’’ Solis said. “No miner should ever have to die for a paycheck.’’
A friend told KXLY-TV of Spokane that men like Marek risk their lives each day to extract natural resources that people take for granted.
“He was a family man,’’ said Dale Robinson, Marek’s high school classmate. “He was a great sports person, hunter, fisherman, just an all-around wonderful gentleman.’’
Rescue crews worked round-the-clock since the cave-in, drilling rescue tunnels toward Marek’s last reported position in hope that he had been trapped in an area where the ceiling did not collapse. The family was informed late Saturday that the rescue effort had changed to a recovery effort.