Back to work for Falkirk’s Chief Ironside
By Suzanne Werre
The Falkirk Mine’s Chief Ironside was back up and running this past Sunday after avoiding what could have been a catastrophic situation last Tuesday, when the 13-million-pound dragline tipped to what looked like a 45-degree angle, as the ground beneath it began to give way at about 4:30 p.m. that day.
Bulldozers were quickly used to push dirt against the front of the dragline to stabilize it, and it quit slipping by about 5:30 p.m. The expansive boom on the dragline never touched the ground, keeping the damage to the massive machine minimal.
The massive boom was not damaged, and there was actually minimal damage to the dragline, according to North American Coal’s David Straley, Director of Government and Public Affairs.
And more importantly, neither of the two employees who were on the dragline at the time it started slipping was hurt.
"The one thing that we continue to stress is that no one was hurt," said Straley. "And the recovery process went extremely well."
According to Straley, dragline operator, Bruce Neumiller of Turtle Lake, did exactly what he was supposed to do when he sensed the dragline was slipping.