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Worker Crushed To Death At WV Mine

Fri, 02/08/2013 - 3:15pm
The Associated Press

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A West Virginia coal miner has been crushed to death under a piece of equipment at a Raleigh County coal mine, state and federal regulators said Friday.

The victim's identity was not immediately released, but officials say it happened Thursday night at Pocahontas Coal Co.'s Affinity Mine.

MSHA says the miner was pushing a scoop bucket insert full of trash onto a hoist when the hoist moved unexpectedly. The preliminary investigation suggests the hoist picked up the scoop and trapped the victim underneath.

In March 2012, MSHA listed the Affinity mine among three that had been caught giving illegal, advance warning that inspectors were onsite the month before.

MSHA chief Joe Main has repeatedly said that such warnings let workers hide conditions that could endanger their lives and the lives of others. Main has pushed for higher penalties and fines to deter the practice, but so far, Congress has yet to act.

This is the second equipment-related death in West Virginia this week.

On Wednesday, 34-year-old Brandon Townsend of Delbarton died when a hydraulic jack exploded on a belt press at Midland Trail Energy's Blue Creek preparation plant in Kanawha County. Another worker was injured.

Midland Trail is owned by Patriot Coal.

Investigations into both accidents are under way.

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