The body of one of two men missing in a landslide at a gravel pit in southern Mississippi was found early Thursday morning, state officials said. Ray Coleman, a spokesman for the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, said rescuers found the body inside a piece of equipment.
Officials are not releasing the name of the employee who was found at this time.
“Rescue crews are continuing their efforts to find the second employee at the site,” Colman said in a news release.
Mississippi’s state emergency management director, Lee Smithson, identified the two men missing as Emmitt Shorter and James “Dee” Hemphill.
In a Facebook message, Smithson named the men and offered condolences to their families.
Officials with the Mining Safety and Health Administration said the two men were operating heavy equipment for Green Brothers at a pit in Crystal Springs when they were buried in 10 feet to 12 feet of mud, slush and sluice around 11:30 a.m. on June 3.
Heavy pumps were brought in Monday to remove mud and slurry caused by rain at the landslide site.
“I can only again stress our sympathy and prayers to those dear family members who have kept this vigil, how heartbreaking it must be,” Gov. Phil Bryant told reporters during a Monday afternoon briefing after meeting with family members at the gravel pit in rural Copiah County.
William O’Dell, MSHA assistant district manager, told reporters Monday that the agency will investigate the incident. The agency is supervising about 25 people working on recovery efforts.
“As far as Green Brothers’ violation history, at this point we haven’t really focused on the history of that,” O’Dell said. “We’re solely focused on our recovery operations.”
MSHA has cited the particular mine for 26 “significant & substantial” violations since 1993, according to online records. Green Brothers, based in Crystal Springs, also operates other gravel mines.
Norman Ford, an assistant vice president of Green Brothers, read a statement Monday but took no questions.
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