Coal Tattoo

Two more W.Va. miners die on the job

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Mine Explosion

The sad news broke late last night and early this morning, out of Boone County, W.Va.:

Two miners were killed last night at a Patriot Coal operation in Boone County where federal officials said last year they would increase enforcement because of a pattern of serious violations and unreported worker injuries.

Federal and state officials this morning confirmed the deaths occurred at Patriot’s Brody Mine No. 1 in the Wharton area.

Killed were Eric D. Legg, 48, of Twilight, and Gary P. Hensley, 46, of Chapmanville, said Amy Goodwin, a spokeswoman for Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.

No other workers were unaccounted for this morning and no other injuries were reported, said Amy Louviere, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration.

A statement from MSHA referred to the incident as a “ground failure,” while the state Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training’s initial report called it a “coal outburst.” Both descriptions suggest the incident was not simply a roof fall, but involved pressures from above ejecting rock and coal material from the mine walls onto the workers.