Coal Tattoo

Three more coal miners die on the job

Mine Explosion

We had the story late Friday afternoon on the Gazette website about this sad news:

A worker was killed early Friday afternoon at a CONSOL Energy operation in Marshall County, officials said. It was the sixth West Virginia coal-mining death so far in 2013.

The miner suffered a head injury and died on the way to the hospital, said Leslie Fitzwater, spokeswoman for the state Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training.

The incident occurred shortly before 1 p.m. at Pittsburgh-based CONSOL’s McElroy Mine near Moundsville, Fitzwater said.

The Wheeling paper had the obituary notice:

4a63e17d-c4e4-4cc0-9106-32732f84ba36KING, Roger R., 62, of Moundsville died Friday at McElroy Mine, Cameron Portal.

He was born September 6, 1951 in Sutton, WV.

Roger was a very dedicated coal miner for the past 44 years. The last 17 years of service was at Consol Energy, McElroy Mine, Cameron Portal, where he was the Chief Longwall Maintenance Coordinator.

He was a member of Moundsville Baptist Church, ME-MMA Association, Moundsville Country Club, a member and former committeeman with the UMWA, and a U.S. Army veteran.

Roger enjoyed squirrel hunting, fishing, deer hunting, morrell mushroom hunting, growing vegetables in his garden, going on vacation with his wife to Pigeon Forge, TN, spending time with his family, and playing with his grandson.

And then over the weekend, there was more bad news:

A White County Coal miner died Saturday at an underground mine when a cart he was operating landed on top of him after he lost control of it and struck the wall of the mine, the county’s coroner said.

Robert Smith, 47, of Norris City, was pronounced dead at 1:59 p.m., Coroner Chris Marsh said. The preliminary cause of death is massive blunt trauma, though results of an autopsy Sunday are pending. Nothing has been ruled out, but Marsh said Smith did not appear to have a medical issue that might have contributed to the crash or his death.

Also, federal and state mine officials are investigating, including the possibility of a mechanical failure in the cart, Marsh said. He described the cart as a golf cart modified for underground mine operations.

The mine, commonly known as the Pattiki Mine, just outside Carmi, is owned by White County Coal LLC, a subsidiary of Alliance Resource Partners LP. Spokespersons at either company could not be reached.

UPDATED: MSHA just announced there was a third coal-mining death on Sunday in Wyoming:

At the Bridger Coal mine in Wyoming, a dozer operator was killed Oct. 6 when the dozer went over a 150-foot highwall in the early hours of Sunday morning. When the victim did not report in at the end of his regular shift, the operator began to search and found the dozer and victim at the bottom of the highwall. 

That bring the number of coal-mining deaths across the country this year to 17 16, though the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration does not appear to be updating its webpage count and list, given the ongoing government shutdown.