Seventeen miners at a salt mine in western New York were freed early this morning after they were trapped hundreds of feet underground when the elevator they were in stopped working late Wednesday night.

Officials used a crane with a basket to bring them to the surface at the Cargill Salt Mine in Lansing, north of Ithaca. The Associated Press quotes Cargill Inc. spokesman Mark Klein as saying that the miners were trapped shortly after 10 p.m. ET Wednesday when the elevator malfunctioned about 900 feet down the shaft to the 2,300-foot-deep mine floor.

Around 7 a.m. ET, emergency crews used the crane to rescue the first of the miners, according to the Ithaca Journal, which reports that despite the elevator problem, crews were able to communicate with the miners and to send them blankets and other supplies.

Cargill says the mine produces "approximately 2 million tons of road salt that is shipped to more than 1,500 locations throughout the northeast United States."

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