Campbell County tornado hits coal mine

Around 5:40 pm on Friday, a tornado touched down near the town of Wright. Right in the tornado’s path sits the North Antelope Rochelle Mine.
Published: Jun. 24, 2023 at 8:04 PM CDT
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WRIGHT, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - The weather was active across much of the state yesterday, with at least 16 confirmed tornados. One of the stronger ones touched down in Campbell County.

Around 5:40 pm on Friday, a tornado touched down near the town of Wright; which is about 40 minutes south of Gillette.

We obtained video of the tornado, as shot by stormchaser Brad Walton. Walton says the tornado became rain wrapped pretty quickly, making it hard to identify the actual funnel.

Over that hillside from where Brad had parked... And right in the tornado’s path... Sits the North Antelope Rochelle Mine. Which is a large, open-pit coal mine.

We weren’t permitted beyond the gate to observe any damage. But Campbell County Emergency Management confirms that some empty rail cars had been blown over. That’s how strong the winds were.

We spoke with a representative at Campbell County Health, Norberto Orellana, about the condition of the six miners they received. Orellana says, “Generally speaking, they all arrived pretty stable. We didn’t have to admit anyone to the floor. So really, by this morning, we were clear of all of those patients impacted in the incident.”

Two other people were injured. One transferred to Converse County Memorial Hospital, and the other refused treatment.

We also got a statement from Peabody Energy, the company that owns the coal mine. In part it reads, “Operations have been suspended until we can fully assess facility damages and begin the process of restarting safe operations. The health and safety of our people is our top priority at Peabody.”