Louisiana authorities are searching for two workers who went missing after the roof of a salt mine collapsed on Monday, the mine’s operator said.
The global food corporation Cargill told USA TODAY in a statement that 16 other employees were evacuated from its Avery Island location in Iberia Parish. The cause of the collapse is still unknown.
“Early this morning, Cargill’s Avery Island salt mine experienced a roof collapse. Unfortunately, we do have to inform you that we have two employees who remain unaccounted for at this time,” spokesperson April Nelson said in the statement.
“The facility has been shut down to allow the search to continue,” according to the statement.
The Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Cargill operates two other mines in the U.S., according to its website. The Avery Island salt mine has received more than 50 safety citations this year alone, The Advocate reported. Some citations involve electrical and fire safety equipment, according to the newspaper.
The worst salt mine disaster in Louisiana was in 1968, according to the United States Mine Rescue Association. A fire at the Belle Isle Salt Mine in the city of Franklin killed 21 people who were working underground, according to the association’s website.
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