Killed IL miner had minimal experience: MSHA

FEDERAL officials have released preliminary findings of last weekend’s pinning accident in Illinois with more details surrounding the incident that fatally injured an underground worker.
Killed IL miner had minimal experience: MSHA Killed IL miner had minimal experience: MSHA Killed IL miner had minimal experience: MSHA Killed IL miner had minimal experience: MSHA Killed IL miner had minimal experience: MSHA

Courtesy Peabody Energy.

Donna Schmidt

Continuous miner operator Chad Meyers, 30, was working at Peabody Energy’s Willow Lake mine in Equality, Saline County, early Saturday morning when the accident occurred.

Meyers, who had three years and 20 weeks mining experience, had just 28 weeks of experience operating a continuous miner.

“The victim was operating the continuous miner on the right side of the No 5 unit,” US Mine Safety and Health Administration investigators said.

“He was making the first cut in the crosscut from No 4 to No 5 entry [and] was mining the crosscut straight on instead of turning it from the No 4 entry.”

In its findings MSHA said that after Meyers made the initial cut, he backed the CM unit into the crosscut between No 4 and 3 entries to set it over to slab the right side of the cut.

“As he backed the machine into the crosscut, he was pinned between the outby rib of the crosscut and the left side of the cutter head.”

The agency confirmed that while the incident occurred at about 3.20am, the victim was not pronounced dead until 4.40am local time.

The report did not indicate if he was transported anywhere for care.

An autopsy of Meyers was underway, MSHA said.

The 460-worker Willow Lake mine, which first shipped coal in 2002, mined 2.2 million tons in 2011.

The complex sells the coal from the Springfield No 5 seam to Midwest utility generators.

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