Miner dies in Kentucky roof fall

AN underground miner in Kentucky has died at a US coal operation, marking the fourth fatality in less than one month and the second in three days resulting from a roof fall or rib roll.
Miner dies in Kentucky roof fall Miner dies in Kentucky roof fall Miner dies in Kentucky roof fall Miner dies in Kentucky roof fall Miner dies in Kentucky roof fall

The scene of a roof fall at a US operation.

Donna Schmidt

According to a preliminary report provided to ILN by the US Mine Safety and Health Administration, 49-year-old continuous haulage cable attendant/dollyman David Partin was working underground at Manalapan Mining’s P-1 mine in Harlan County Wednesday and standing adjacent to the bridge dolly when he was struck by a 82-inch by 36in by 11in section of rib.

“The rock knocked him into the dolly, striking his head and chest on the dolly,” investigators said.

“The continuous haulage was backing up so the … miner could set over while mining the number 4 heading. The action of the continuous haulage backing up, pushing the dolly outby down the belt, dragged the victim from under the rock.”

After the operator of the outby bridge carrier discovered that he couldn’t see the dollyman, officials said powered the unit down and traveled to his area of origination, where he located Partin on the marrow side of the belt near the rigid belt structure.

While MSHA confirmed the victim was semi-conscious when found, his vital signs weakened as he was carried to the surface. He was pronounced dead shortly after the incident at 12.53pm local time.

Kentucky Office of Mine Safety and Licensing spokespersons Dick Brown and Linda Potter told ILN on Thursday afternoon that the entire mine had been closed and would remain so until investigative interviews and an evaluation of the operation are completed.

“The first round of formal interviews are nearly complete with the exception of a few miners who will be interviewed [Friday],” Potter added.

“[On Friday morning] OMSL and MSHA personnel will be evaluating the roof conditions in the section of the mine where the fatality occurred.”

According to federal data, the P-1 bituminous operation employs 48 workers, 34 of which were underground at the time.

Partin’s death is the eighth in the US in 2011, and the second in Kentucky this year.

The first in the state was on March 25, when Robert Cook pinned between a continuous miner boom and a mine wall and received fatal crushing injuries.

Earlier this week, 33-year-old Joseph Cassell was killed in a rib roll at Rhino Eastern’s Eagle No. 1 mine in West Virginia while preparing to set timbers.

MSHA and the state’s Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training are conducting an investigation into the incident.

Operator Rhino Resources said on Monday afternoon that it is cooperating with authorities as they work to determine the cause and circumstances of the incident.

On June 9, a contractor surface miner was killed at Mountain Coal’s West Elk operation.

A spokesperson for owner Arch Coal told ILN the miner was working at a structure associated with the West Elk mine’s idled preparation facility in Gunnison County when he fell from a catwalk platform and struck an I-beam on the ground below, a distance of about eight feet.

On June 6, 71-year-old Lacy Ellerd Trent, who was operating a 1975 Mack tandem coal truck at Humphreys Enterprises' No. 5 strip surface mine in Wise County, Virginia, was killed when he struck the berm on the outer ridge of the haul road on an 18 percent grade.

The truck then overturned, trapping Trent in the cab.

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