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Judges have begun approving payouts from a multimillion-dollar settlement stemming from the collapse two years ago of a Utah mine that entombed six miners and led to three rescuers' deaths.

Recently released court records show the claims also cover a miner who narrowly avoided a crushing death only to commit suicide months later. The money will support two children of Brian Keith Pritt, who was haunted by survivor's guilt and shot himself in the head, according to a family lawyer.

"He lost many of his close friends," Fred Silvester said Wednesday.

While judges have signed off on trust funds for children of miners and rescuers who died in the disaster at Crandall Canyon, many details remain confidential. Only the payouts for children under 18 require a judge's approval.

The settlement, announced May 12, was characterized as the largest in Utah mining history. Case files at 3rd District Court in Salt Lake City are packed with sealed envelopes holding confidential payout terms approved Aug. 13. Other settlements for minor children are pending in 7th District Court in Price, near Crandall Canyon.

The lawsuits were filed against Pepper Pike, Ohio-based Murray Energy Corp. and three of its subsidiaries or affiliates; engineering consultants Agapito Associates Inc. of Grand Junction, Colo.; mine co-owner Intermountain Power Agency and its partner in a coal-fired Utah power station, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.


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