One killed, two injured at West Virginia mine

ONE worker has died and two others have been hospitalized after an accident Tuesday morning at a southern West Virginia coal operation.

Donna Schmidt

“At approximately 7am [local time], a hoist rope on a slope car broke at the Newtown Energy Eagle mine,” US Mine Safety and Health Administration spokesperson Diana Petterson told ILN.

“One miner, age 53, located at the slope bottom, was struck by the hoist car, causing fatal injuries [and] two other miners riding in the slope car when the hoist rope broke were also injured,” she said, adding that the slope car was being hoisted out of the mine at the time of the accident.

West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training spokesperson Jama Jarrett identified the killed worker as Charles Dixon, a 25-year mining veteran and six-year Eagle mine employee.

Those miners receiving injuries were identified as Daniel Ewing and Dave Morgan. One received minor shoulder and facial injuries while the other suffered minor head injuries, Jarrett said.

MSHA confirmed that a 103(j) order was issued to the Eagle operation and later modified to a 103(k) to idle production as federal investigators arrived on the scene. Technical Support is assisting with the incident review.

The Newtown Energy Eagle operation in Kanawha County, controlled by Robert Ellis, employs about 220 people and produces about 1 million tons of coal annually.

According to federal data, the mine has recorded 13 non-fatal days lost operator injuries and one contractor injury in MSHA’s second quarter of 2009.

In 2008, the mine reported 14 NFDL operator injuries and three NFDL contractor injuries on just over 449,000 man hours worked. In fact, its total violation assessment bill to MSHA last year was $US1.64 million on 554 type 104(a) citations and more than two dozen other various orders.

Dixon’s death is the 14th in coal mining in 2009 and the third fatality in West Virginia.

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