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Miner saves others in deadly Emery County flash flood

Posted at 8:42 PM, Aug 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-10 23:28:55-04

EMERY COUNTY, Utah — Roughly a week after a devastating flash flood ripped through the Gentry Mountain Mine area near Huntington, Utah, the mine is still working to clean up and move forward.

The flash flood waters were triggered late Aug. 1, with roughly a dozen miners within three vehicles in the path of the flow and debris. The flood took the life of 48-year-old Gary Nelson of Fairview, who worked at the mine for nearly a decade.

“I remember when the water hit us in front of the windshield,” said Hernan Nunez, who has worked at the mine for about seven years. “I don’t remember how many times the car rolled over.”

READ: Emery County calling for community support following Gentry Mountain Mine devastation

Nunez says he looked around the vehicle after the flash flood waters forced it to roll over a few times. He was able to get out of the vehicle and pry open one of the doors to start pulling his co-workers out.

His wife has gotten a few messages from Nunez's co-workers and families, thanking him for saving their loved ones.

“They tell him he’s a hero. They message him with saying, 'You’re my hero. You saved me,'” said Joanna Nunez. “To me and my family, my kids, he’s always been our hero.”

Hernan Nunez is still battling back, neck and arm pain after the flood. He, along with his co-workers stayed after the floodwaters had rushed through to try and search for Nelson, who was swept away by the flood.