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Rescued miner released from hospital after heart tests

Wednesday, July 31, 2002

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

JOHNSTOWN -- One of the nine men rescued from a flooded Somerset County mine early Sunday was released from the hospital last night after doctors evaluated a heart condition.

Thomas Foy, 52, was the last of the rescued miners to be released from the hospital.

Dr. Russell Dumire, a trauma surgeon at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center, said that further cardiac evaluation was needed.

"Mr. Foy has a history of cardiac disease, but had been pain-free and asymptomatic for a long period of time and had been doing well," he said. He added that the miner had some chest pain while trapped, but has felt fine since the rescue.

"He's got the best attitude," Dumire noted. "He is the most jubilant and jovial of all of them."

Foy told the doctor yesterday morning that he wanted to get the tests over with so he could go home. "But he said it with a smile on his face," Dumire said.

The rescued miners will be cared for, said David Rebuck, president and superintendent of the Quecreek mine, which was flooded with millions of gallons of water after miners accidentally breached an abandoned neighboring mine that was filled with groundwater.

The miners will receive workers' compensation, their medical bills will be paid by the company's insurance and their jobs will remain available if they want them. If not, efforts will be made to find them work above ground or retrain them in a mine-related field.

Rebuck said the miners would be paid for the time they were trapped underground.

"They wanted something for that," he said, chuckling. "We worked out an agreement."

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