Tommy Eugene Tackett, 38, an employee of Premier Elkhorn Coal in the eastern Kentucky town of Dorton, was running his machine near a stockpile of clean output at the Burke Branch tipple when he and his dozer were buried under approximately 30 to 40 feet of coal, according to a report in local newspaper the Appalachian News Express.
The accident occurred at about 10pm local time Wednesday and he was brought to safety at 12.37am early Thursday morning. He was treated for minor injuries at a local hospital.
The coal producer’s personnel director, Paul Matney, said the incident occurred because the unit fell through a coal feed drop that led to the complex’s belt line underneath. Several rescue teams assisted in bringing him back to the surface, the report noted.
“Our employees, the emergency responders, the safety equipment and communication devices all worked as it should,” Matney said.
“We’re lucky, with the emergency response plan, that everything worked as it should.
“The self-rescuer worked as it should and it gave us time to rescue him.”
Premier Elkhorn Coal Company is a subsidiary of TECO Coal.