The death is the latest in an alarming string of fatalities. The miner’s death is the third in less than two weeks at US mines.
According to information provided to ILN by the US Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and the West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training, 43-year-old Edward Finney was working at Pocahontas Coal’s Affinity mine in Sophia, Raleigh county, when the incident occurred on Thursday night.
The utility man was on the deck of a scoop as two miners were unloading trash from the metal scoop bucket insert onto the hoist for removal from the mine. The scoop bucket was positioned over the hoist deck and the hoist suddenly elevated, causing the scoop to lift up.
The two miners who were unloading the trash were able to run to safety.
“As the hoist elevated, the scoop slipped away from the hoist deck, causing it to crash onto the mine floor,” MSHA said in its preliminary findings.
“During the accident, the scoop operator cleared the operator's deck and was found with fatal crushing injuries beneath the scoop.”
State officials as well as MSHA District 4 investigators have commenced a probe into the accident.
Finney had 13 years of mining experience and had worked at the mine for 30 weeks.
Sixty-eight of the mine’s 198 underground workers were inside the mine at the time of the incident.
The Affinity bituminous mine is owned Ukrainian miner Metinvest BV.
On February 6, Brandon Townsend, 34, was killed and a second miner injured when a hydraulic jack exploded at Patriot Coal's Midland Trail Energy Blue Creek preparation facility south of Charleston.
The fatality is the second in West Virginia in 2013, and the third nationwide this year.