Saturday, April 22, 2006

"Till the stream of your blood runs as black as the coal:" Two More Miners Killed

Two more coal miners were killed over the past two days in Kentucky.
Coal miner killed in Harlan County
Death is 2nd in 2 days in Kentucky

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Two miners were killed over the past two days in Kentucky, bringing the number of coal industry fatalities so far this year to 26 nationally.

Five coal miners have died on the job in Kentucky this year.

The latest death occurred about 4:30 a.m. yesterday in an underground mine in Harlan County.

Rick McKnight, 45, of Cumberland, was crushed by a machine he was working on, said Harlan County Coroner Philip Bianchi. Bianchi said McKnight was pronounced dead at Harlan Appalachian Regional Hospital. McKnight leaves a wife and two children.

McKnight was repairing a machine used to shift coal onto a conveyor belt, said Amy Louviere, spokeswoman for the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration. Louviere said the machine shifted and pinned the miner, who was working in Lone Mountain Processing's Huff Creek No. 1 mine at Holmes Mill, about 30 miles east of Harlan near the Virginia border.

McKnight had worked at the mine for 11 years, said Mark York, spokesman for the Kentucky Office of Mine Safety and Licensing.

The accident occurred more than five miles underground.

Federal and state inspectors were investigating the accident yesterday.

The other fatal accident, on Thursday, occurred when material fell on a miner at a Pike County coal mine.

David Chad Bolen, 28, of Harold, was moving a shuttle car anchor in the Tri Star Coal LLC No. 1 mine, according to a release from the Kentucky Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet.
That brings the total for this year to 26 deaths in coal mines compared with 22 all of last year. Six miners have also died this year in metal/non-metal mines.