Cayuga Salt Mine Elevator Malfunction Traps 17 Miners Underground in Lansing

Emergency crews were working overnight to free 17 miners trapped in an elevator more than 70 stories below ground in upstate New York, officials said early Thursday.

The Ithaca Fire Department said it was helping with the "major rescue" at the Cargill salt mine in Lansing. The workers were trapped in an elevator 775 feet down an access shaft, it said in a statement posted on Facebook.

A crane has been brought in to assist with extricating the miners, according to the Tompkins County Department of Emergency Response. It said the trapped workers had been given radios and supplies.

The miners were starting their shift and heading underground Wednesday night when the elevator got stuck, according to the company which owns the site.

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Mark Klein, a spokesman for Cargill, said no one was injured when the incident occurred around 10 p.m. ET.

The company has been in "constant contact" with the 17 and rescue teams had been able to give the stranded workers water, he added.

Klein said that once the crane arrives, it will lower down a basket to carry out miners 2-3 at a time.

The elevator has safety brakes to hold it in place and the cause of malfunction is under investigation, he added.

Cargill purchased the mining rights in 1970 to what was previous Cayuga Rock Salt's site.

The mine employs around 200 people and mostly makes road salt but is also under the Diamond Crystal name as residential de-icing salt, according to Cargill.