Whitesburg KY

Miner may have cut live cable


Federal investigators believe a West Virginia coal miner was cutting a live cable when he was electrocuted last week.

Nathan Dove was repairing a shuttle car used to transport coal underground when the accident occurred at 8:45 p.m. on May 16, according to a preliminary report released this week by the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration. The 24-year-old miner died 45 minutes later.

Dove is the second West Virginia coal miner to die at work this year and the ninth nationally.

The accident occurred at Massey Energy Co.’s Aracoma Alma No. 1 Mine in southern West Virginia, scene of a conveyer belt fire that killed two miners in January 2006.

The Richmond, Va.-based company is investigating along with MSHA and the state Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training, company spokesman Jeff Gillenwater said in an email.

“Our focus is currently on the family and the co-workers,” he said in the message.

The mine employs 145 people, including 135 underground, according to the MSHA report.

Massey has reduced employment and production at the mine since the Jan. 19, 2006 fire. Alma produced 281,908 tons of coal and employed 230 people in 2007, according to MSHA records.

Massey also has turned around the mine’s safety record after being fined $1.5 million for safety violations that MSHA said contributed to the 2006 deaths. Massey has not paid that fine yet, according to MSHA records. Last month, MSHA decided to give Aracoma Coal Co. a safety award for the Alma No. 1 and Hernshaw mines for having no lost-time injuries in 2007.

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