Monday, June 7, 2010
By Mike Gorrell
The Salt Lake Tribune
A mechanic by trade, Hunter Diehl figured his best shot of getting a job working on the big equipment involved in southeastern Utah's reviving uranium industry was to start as a miner.
But the 28-year-old Moab man's career ambitions were cut short May 26 when he was killed by a falling rock while working underground at the Pandora uranium mine outside of La Sal, San Juan County, southeast of Moab.
Under investigation by the federal Mine Safety & Health Administration, the Pandora accident is the eighth fatality this year in mines that excavate materials other than coal.
There have been 36 coal mining deaths nationally.
Diehl then was hired by Moab-based Reliance Resources, which was doing the mining work at Pandora under contract from Denison Mines (USA) Corp., a Canadian company with offices in Denver.
"He started with whatever kind of work they gave him, hoping that would help him get his foot in the door so that he could eventually become a mechanic," Alisha Diehl said.
"It wasn't the mining itself that appealed to him, " she added. "It was just a way to pay the bills and take care of his family."
Diehl leaves behind his widow and two daughters, Emma Doyal and Rachael Diehl, all of Moab; his father, Jeff, of Grand Junction; his mother, Jean Caine, of Moab; seven brothers and sisters, two grandparents and a great-grandmother.
"We were all really close as brothers and sisters," Alisha Diehl said. "We were the only constants in each others' lives."
She said the community has been quite supportive of the extended Diehl family, even "many people who didn't know him."
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