Kelli Schwalbe-Knight mans a machine that moves like a humongous goose waddling through tar — backward. With a pair of joysticks and the flick of a toggle switch, she commands the colossal contraption that can dig a swimming pool-size pit in a single scoop.
The 31-year-old married mother of one, who’s expecting her second child, has adapted along with a few other women in a profession dominated by lunchbox-toting men in hardhats. She operates the 7.5 million-pound Queen Bee dragline, which removes overburden on top of coal seams, for Dakota Westmoreland Corp.
By James MacPherson, The Associated Press
, August 31, 2009
Traffic on state Highway 49 south of Beulah was detoured Monday so the Queen Bee, a 7.5 million-pound dragline, could move carefully across the road from one coal mining area to another.
The dragline owned by Dakota Westmoreland Corp. was moving from the east side of the highway to a mining area on the west side of the road. The bucket on the giant excavating machine is used to remove layers of soil above coal deposits.
August 25, 2009
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