2 dead, 1 injured in electrocution incident at mine near Moab

Stock image, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Two workers died by electrocution and another was injured Saturday when industrial equipment touched a power line at a potash mine in northern San Juan County.

Russell Helquist and Matthew Johnston died at the Intrepid Potash facility near Moab, while the other employee, Arthur Secrest, was found unconscious but breathing and was flown to an unspecified hospital in Salt Lake City, the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement Saturday.

The incident was initially reported to Grand County authorities as an explosion just after noon, triggering an emergency response with personnel from San Juan County Sheriff’s Office, Grand County EMS and the Moab Valley Fire Department.

After initial investigation, the Sheriff’s Office determined it was an industrial accident.

All three men were living in the Moab area.

“Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of these good men,” San Juan County Sheriff’s authorities said in the statement.

Personnel at the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office dispatch center said the incident is still under investigation and no further information would be released at this time.

The potash mine processes salt, potassium chloride and other minerals, including muriate of potash, a potassium-containing salt used widely by farmers in fertilizer. The facility is a major employer in the region.

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