"It's indeed a scary situation,'' Bump told The State Journal. "It truly was a type of situation that nobody up there has ever experienced before. It certainly wasn't a typical water rescue.''
Dredging began around 1:30 p.m. on Monday to make way for four barges that would install sheet pilings and serve as a staging area for divers. The pilings are expected to segregate the area where the dozer is believed to be located so crews can siphon out the sludge and fill it with water.
The bulldozer operator's name hasn't been released. Two engineers who also tumbled into the holding pond Friday were treated at local hospitals and released.
In 2011, the Robinson Run mine won the state's top award for underground mine safety.
According to MSHA's website, the mine has reported 11 injury-related incidents since June, including a technician who suffered burns to his neck, face and arms when gas at the surface ignited while he was taking measurements.
"This company has been compliant with its requirements, conducting its weekly inspections, filing its reports,'' said state Department of Environmental Protection spokeswoman Kathy Cosco. "Generally speaking, the company's doing satisfactory in its compliance with its permits.''
Seay said full operations at the 605-employee mine are expected to resume Tuesday and "will not interfere with the impending recovery efforts.'' The mine was idle over the weekend and limited activity resumed early Monday.