Kentucky miner dies in dozer fall

A WORKER at an operation owned by International Coal Group was killed on Friday after a bulldozer he was running went over a 180-foot highwall.

Donna Schmidt

According to a US Mine Safety and Health Administration preliminary report, Harold Lee Graham, 53, was operating a D-11N Caterpillar dozer at ICG Hazard’s East Mac and Nellie mine. He was pushing material over the top of the highwall.

The agency said it was not known why the unit continued over the highwall and fell into a pit below.

“The victim died instantly,” the report said. “There were no witnesses to the accident.”

Graham was a 30-year veteran of the mining industry, but he had been based at the ICG operation in Perry County, Kentucky, for a year.

Officials from the state’s Office of Mine Safety and Licensing told local media outlets that investigations of the incident have begun. OMSL executive director Johnny Greene said the mine would remain idle until officials’ reviews were completed.

Graham’s death was the twentieth coal mine death in 2008 in the US and the fourth in the state of Kentucky.