Two people dead after crash at gold mine east of Winnemucca

Marigold Mine is seen in this image taken on Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017 (SBG)

Two people were killed and others were injured following a crash at a gold mine east of Winnemucca, according to the Humboldt County sheriff and company that owns the mine.

Marigold Mine in Valmy issued a mayday call at about 2:15 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 31, Sheriff Mike Allen confirmed to News 4-Fox 11.

The sheriff's office responded, along with Nevada Highway Patrol, firefighters and the Nevada's Division of Investigation, among other agencies in the region.

When they arrived, they determined there had been a mining accident, Allen said.

SSR Mining Inc., which owns Marigold Mine, released a statement Tuesday saying the accident "involved contact between a haul truck and a light vehicle within the open pit operations at the mine."

Sheriff Allen says the driver and passenger of the light vehicle died. The driver of the haul truck hit the light vehicle -- a van -- from roughly behind the driver' seat and killed the two men.

Allen says there were nine others in the vehicle. Four were taken to the hospital and immediately released, while the other five were not injured.

The mine staff activated its emergency plan and notified authorities, the statement reads. The company on Wednesday identified the two people killed as Pete Kuhn, a safety superintendent, and Omar Bernal, an open pit operator.

The sheriff's office is conducting a joint investigation with the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration, Allen said, with state authorities providing assistance.

Operations at the mine have been suspended, and SSR Mining has started its own investigation, according to the company's statement. Operations would only begin once there is a site assessment and employees are briefed.

U.S. Sen. Dean Heller tweeted that he and his staff are monitoring the situation.

Paul Benson, SSR Mining President and CEO, released a statement:

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of our colleagues and our heartfelt sympathy goes out to their families. This incident is particularly upsetting as the health and safety of our employees is our highest priority. We are fully cooperating with the ongoing investigation to determine the cause of the accident and are offering support to our colleagues' families and our employees at the mine site."
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