Monday, October 23, 2006

42: Coal Miner Killed in Pennsylvania Explosion

A Pennsylvania coal miner was killed in an explosion today, bringing total coal miner deaths in the United States to 42 for the year, compared with 22 in all of last year.
A coal miner died after setting explosive charges in an anthracite mine in northeastern Pennsylvania on Monday, a spokeswoman for the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration said.

Dale Reightler, 42, who had 20 years' experience working in coal mines, was killed when the charges were detonated at the R&D Coal Co. at Tremont in Schuylkill County about 80 miles north of Philadelphia.

Reightler had placed the charges into holes drilled into the coal seam in order to loosen more coal, said Amy Louviere at the federal agency. "One of the charges is probably what killed him," she said.

The mine has a history of problems:

Four workers at the mine were injured Dec. 1, 2004, by debris from an explosion caused by a pipe with a faulty gauge, state officials said. The mine reopened after installing safety equipment, and two inspections this year turned up no significant violations, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection.
Reightler was the second coal miner that has died on the job in the last three days. A West Virginia miner was killed in an explosion last Friday.

This also marks the second fatality since President Bush recess appointed Richard Stickler to head MSHA in defiance of Congress which was out on break.

More stories on 2006 Mine Disasters here.