University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
Pitt-Johnstown Seal

Pitt-Johnstown Alum: Major Asset to "Miner Miracle"

August 5, 2002
Sean Isgan, a 1982 Pitt-Johnstown Civil Engineering Technology graduate and owner of CME Engineering, Inc., and his employees were called to Quecreek Mine, Somerset County, PA., Wednesday July 24, to help with the rescue efforts of nine trapped miners. Mine administrators knew where the trapped men were working and that much of the mine was under water. To locate an exact spot in the mine 240 feet below the surface, CME Engineering used a "real-time kinematic geographic positioning system." Isgan's firm also established a base station on-site, using computers and a satellite to locate the right spot for this rescue mission.

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"We couldn't make a mistake," Isgan said in a telephone interview from his office to the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat, "There was zero room for error, obviously." Working from detailed surveys of the mine's interior, Isgan and his employees located a place to drill a six-inch air shaft that is credited with helping to save the miner's lives in the operation's early stages. Each of the spots surveyed for water pumps and airshafts hit the mark and aided the successful rescue mission. "They did a great job," said John Urosek of the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration.
Last Reviewed: November 21, 2004