In Pike County, Kentucky,
John May, 39, of Hardy, a road-grader operator, was struck by his machine about 7:30 p.m. EDT Thursday as it rolled backward "at a high rate of speed" at Cam Mining's Slate Branch Mine at Freeburn, according to the state's accident report.And in Knott County, Kentucky,
On Tuesday, a Knott County miner died at a surface mine near Hindman. Jason Mosley, 28, of Hindman, was killed when a highwall collapsed on him at Hendrickson Equipment's Smith Branch No. 1 mine.That would be the highest number of mine fatalities since 1993, when the toll was 18.
The total number of coal miners killed on the job this year now stands at 35, compared with 10 at this time last year, and 22 for all of last year.
Both mines have been cited numerous times by the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration since they opened last fall.
The Pike County mine has been cited 16 times this year, mostly for machinery violations and for allowing combustible materials to accumulate. The Knott County mine has been cited eight times for faulty equipment and for allowing loose, hazardous materials to accumulate atop pits and highwalls.
Both mines were shut down this week, but Smith Branch was allowed to resume part of its operation Wednesday, Wolfe said.
The two deaths bring to 13 the number of Kentucky mining fatalities in 2006, according to the state safety office.
Meanwhile in Pennsylvania, three coal miners were taken to the hospital after being burned in a methane “flashback” at Consol Coal's Blacksville No. 2 mine They had been using a cutting torch to cut steel on a conveyor belt inside the shaft.
But it was no big deal, according to Thomas Hoffman, vice president of External Affairs for Consol.
Hoffman said he did not want to minimize the miners’ injuries but noted Thursday’s incident “was nothing major.”Really, chill out guys. Shit happens.
“The media is so sensitive to everything since the Sago disaster,” he said