Funeral services were incomplete Friday for a 23-year-old mine electrician/repairman who died early Friday morning in an underground mining accident in the Letcher County community of Partridge, located near the Harlan County line.
Mount Pleasant Mortuary of Harlan is in charge of arrangements for Richard Coots Jr., who died after being pinned under equipment used to transport coal from the mine face, according to the Kentucky Office of Mine Safety and Licensing (OMSL).
The accident occurred around 2 a.m. Oct. 7 at Owlco Energy LLC’s Mine No. 1 when Coots, of Harlan County, was under the mobile bridge unit repairing a broken conveyor chain. A mobile bridge is part of a continuous haulage conveyor system that helps move coal from a continuous miner at the mine face to a nearby beltline for transport outside the mine.
OMSL investigators will begin the process of interviewing others who were working in the mine when the accident occurred. The mine, which is located at Maggard Branch near Partridge, remains closed until the investigation is complete. Owlco Energy is headquartered in Middlesboro.
The accident is the fourth mining-related fatality in Kentucky in 2011.