Man dies in burn unit after industrial accident at mine near Moab

Classic Air at the scene where two men died and one was seriously injured at the Intrepid Potash mine near Moab in northern San Juan County, Utah, Nov. 10, 2018 | Photo courtesy of Grand County EMS, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The man critically injured in an industrial accident at a potash mine in northern San Juan County that killed two other workers over the weekend died Tuesday at a hospital in Salt Lake City, officials said.

Arthur “Buddy” Secrest is pictured at work at the Intrepid Potash mine the day of the accident near Moab, Utah, Nov. 10, 2018 | Photo courtesy of Craig Fanshier via Facebook, St. George News

Arthur Secrest died at the University of Utah’s Burn Clinic after he and two other employees, Russell Helquist and Matthew Johnston, were electrocuted during an industrial accident at a potash mine shortly after noon Saturday.


Read more: Man remains in critical condition in burn unit after industrial accident at mine near Moab

Helquist and Johnston were pronounced dead at the scene, while Secrest was flown to the hospital in critical condition.

The statement released by the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office Tuesday night said the three men were using a telescoping forklift to extract a pump from one of the pond pits, and as the pump was being raised into the air it came into contact with the power line and electrocuted the men.

“Once again, our condolences go out to the family and friends of Arthur Secrest, Russell Helquist and Matthew Johnston,” the sheriff’s office said.

Matt Preston, a representative with Intrepid’s corporate crisis management team, told St. George News on Sunday that they were in contact with the San Juan County Sheriff’s office and that all operations at the mine had been halted.

By Wednesday morning Preston said that some operations have resumed in other areas of the mine. “However the area where the accident occurred is still shut down,” he said.

Preston said the outpouring of community support for “Russell, Matt and Buddy and their families, as well as for all our Moab employees during this incredibly difficult time has been tremendous.”

“Intrepid is very grateful for that support.”

An active investigation is ongoing by authorities, Preston said.

“Employee safety is, and will continue to be, Intrepid’s top priority.”

Preston also said for anyone interested in assisting the families impacted by this tragedy, friends and neighbors have set up accounts for each family to accept donations.

St. George News reporter Jeff Richards contributed to this report.

Ed note: When making charitable contributions it is advisable to consult with professionals for tax advice and investment risks.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.


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1 Comment

  • SafetyGal December 5, 2018 at 2:09 pm

    Was MSHA notified? I don’t see it on their website.

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