When MSHA’s Gary Jensen, 53, died last week in a rockburst at the Crandall Canyon mine, it had been 26 years since a federal mine inspector had died in the line of duty. Mr. Jensen joined MSHA in 2001 as an inspector. He had worked for nearly 30 years as a coal miner, and was especially skilled in roof control.
He is survived by a wife and four children, with one remarking that one of his father’s trademarks was putting himself before others.
In a 2003 document marking MSHA’s 25th anniversary, the agency offered a small tribute to the 16 federal inspectors who lost their lives in the line of duty.
Joseph Evans, a rescuers for the U.S. Bureau of Mines, who died on April 7, 1911, in a fire at a colliery in Pennsylvania which killed 72 other miners.
John Ferrell, a Bureau of Mines rescue car crewmember, who died on January 19, 1912 while exploring an enclosed area at a mine in Pennsylvania.
Edward Evans, a rescuer for the U.S. Bureau of Mines, who was killed in 1913 at a mine in Wyoming.
L.M. Jones, a mining engineer for the U.S. Bureau of Mines, who died on October 19, 1916 while conducting rescue operations at a mine in West Virginia.
James S. Cunningham, a foreman miner for the U.S. Bureau of Mines,who was killed in an accident at an oil company site in Colorado on August 25, 1991.
C.E. Saxon, principle safety instructor for the U.S. Bureau of Mines, who died on August 19, 1943 from injuries sustained during an explosion at a mine in Alabama.
Walter H. Marsh, a Bureau of Mines coal mine inspector, who was killed in a cave-in and rockslide at a mine in Washington State on July 21, 1945.
Henning Marstrander, a Bureau of Mines inspector, who died in a runaway mine car accident in a coal mine in Alabama on March 13, 1959.
Troy T. Wells, a MESA coal mine inspector was accidentally electrocuted during an inspection of a coal mine in Kentucky on June 11, 1974.
Richard M. Sammons, Kenneth Kiser, and Grover Tussey who were MESA inspectors, and who were killed along with 12 coal miners in an explosion on March 9, 1976 at a coal mine in Kentucky.
Jon C. Cook, a MESA inspector, who died on June 1, 1976 in a portabus collision at a mine in West Virginia.
Willis D. Ison, an MSHA subdistrict manager, who died on April 4, 1978, while attempting to rescue miners at a coal mine in Virginia.
Robert M. Bates, a coal mine inspector for MSHA, who was electrocuted on November 30, 1978 while testing high-voltage switch gear at a surface substation.
Emanuel R. Jones, a coal mine inspector for MSHA, who perished in a mine accident on August 20, 1981.
Mr. Gary Jensen of MSHA, joins their ranks, as someone who also made the ultimate sacrifice in an effort to improve miners’ health and safety.