A 25-year-old mechanic has been killed after part of a mine collapsed on him and two other workers at Yukon Zinc Corp.'s Wolverine site in southeastern Yukon.
William Fisher, along with another mechanic and a machine operator, were working in a stabilized underground area of the zinc-silver mine when it caved in around 3:30 a.m. PT Sunday.
"Two of the persons were able to be extricated from the mine but the third person, unfortunately, was trapped by debris," RCMP Sgt. Don Rogers said Monday.
"At approximately 3 p.m. … workers at the mine were able to get to the trapped worker who, unfortunately, was located deceased."
Yukon coroner Sharon Hanley said that Fisher had been living in southern British Columbia, but he is believed to have family in Sudbury, Ont.
An autopsy will be performed later this week, Hanley said.
One of the surviving workers was treated for non-life-threatening injuries at the hospital in Watson Lake.
In a release sent Monday morning, Yukon Zinc said all three employees were with Procon Mining and Tunnelling Ltd., a mining contractor working on the Wolverine site.
'A very tragic day'
All construction and mining work on the site has been suspended, the company said.
"Obviously it's a very tragic day for us and the family, and our thoughts are with everyone who knew Will," said Pamela O'Hara, Yukon Zinc's vice-president of environment and community affairs.
"We certainly are doing our best to uphold the safety of the mine. And again, it was a stabilized area, and we're just not sure what the circumstances are that led to this."
Occupational health and safety investigators are at the mine site, along with the Yukon coroner's office and members of the RCMP, Rogers said.
Yukon Zinc is currently building the mine at the Wolverine property, located 200 kilometres south of Ross River and about 400 kilometres northeast of Whitehorse. The company plans to begin production in late June.
Fisher's death is the second fatality to be recorded at the mine in the past year.
Paul Wentzell, a 20-year-old Procon employee from Newfoundland and Labrador, was killed in October after he was hit by a truck while working on a tunnel.
Safety investigators concluded that Wentzell had put the truck in neutral and failed to apply the backup brakes before getting out of the vehicle.