Gravel workers recovered after gravel pit collapse - - Jackson, MS

Gravel workers recovered after gravel pit collapse

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Emmitt Shorter (Source: Family) Emmitt Shorter (Source: Family)

Saturday morning, during a press conference at Green Brothers Gravel Company in Crystal Springs, MEMA officials said the second body was found located in the pit around 9:50 p.m. Friday.

Saturday marked the eighth day in the recovery process.

"Mississippi Task Force 2 was notified and began recovery operations at approximately 3:30 a.m. Saturday. At approximately 6:50 a.m., the body was recovered and turned over to the the coroner," said MEMA Executive Director Lee Smithson. 

MEMA  officials say they will not positively identify the body until the coroner has completed the autopsy.

Copiah County Coroner, Ellis Stuart said he doesn't think a positive identification of the body will be available before Monday.

On Friday night, family of Emmitt Shorter said that his body had been found.

Shorter's uncle said that family received the call from officials around 10 p.m.

We're told Shorter had worked at the Green Brothers Gravel Company for about eight months. 

Officials say on June 3, a dam above the gravel pit collapsed. 

That dam was holding back water from a pond, and when it broke, it sent all the water and mud down onto James "Dee" Hemphill and Shorter. 

Smithson said Hemphill's body was located at 1:30 a.m. on Thursday inside the cab of his equipment.  

His body was positively identified by the coroner.

"An incident like this is unreal, it's just almost like it's not real. It's almost like a dream," said Tony Hemphill, nephew of James Hemphill.

Norman Ford spoke on behalf of Green Brothers Gravel Company.

"We've been blessed to see this community come together and share love, concern, food, water and prayers. We at Green Brothers are grateful that through God's guidance,we were able to assemble a team of professionals to help us through the safe recovery of our guys and the families' loved ones. Please continue to ask for comfort and strength for everyone involved, especially the families of these two men," Ford said. 

Smithson commended Mississippi's Task Force 2 for the outstanding job in the recovery effort.

He also wanted to commend the communities of Copiah County and Crystal Springs, church organizations, volunteer fire departments, and people in the community who showed concern in donating food, water and time to the recovery teams.

MEMA officials said dozens of volunteer groups, including the Hopewell Volunteer Fire Dept., the Salvation Army and American Red Cross gave valuable time and resources during the incident.

"This truly shows that in Mississippi, it's a whole community approach to disaster operations. And while this was a great tragedy, the positive thing to come out of it is, this community is better and stronger than it ever has been," Smithson added.

“...Both the Copiah County and Mississippi Emergency Management agencies would like to express our condolences and offer our prayers to the families of both workers," said Copiah County Emergency Management Director Randle Drane.

MEMA officials said the Mine Safety and Health Administration will conduct a thorough investigation of the accident.

We will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.

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