US Mine Safety and Health Administration spokesperson Amy Louviere confirmed for ILN that a 29-year-old continuous miner operator – identified by local media as Travis Glenn Brock – was working at the Leslie County mine Friday morning when he was struck by a rib roll.
“He was cleaning up the crosscut between the No. 2 and 3 entries when the rib roll occurred,” she said, noting that a foreman had heard the rib fall, but was not an eyewitness.
MSHA personnel were onsite Friday afternoon, and federal technical support crew will be assisting in an investigation of the incident.
The Kentucky Office of Mine Safety and Licensing did not respond to an ILN request for more details by press time, but did tell local media Friday that Abner Branch would remain closed until the investigation and interviews had been completed.
Bledsoe Coal is owned by James River Coal.
According to MSHA data, the mine had three non-fatal days lost operator injuries in 2009. Its total NFDL incidence rate for the year was 2.55 versus the national average of 4.22.
The fatality is the first in Kentucky this year; the state suffered four in 2009.