Kentucky Coal Miner Dead After D-29 Darby Fork Mine Collapse
In processing an ABC News report and an Associated Press article, on March 22, 2022, I reacted to the sad message that no mining company wants to have to say — that crews have recovered the body of the missing coal miner from the D-29 Darby Fork mine.
In the case of this fatality, the missing coal miner was 33-year-old James D. Brown, a Kentucky miner who was missing after a roof collapsed deep underground, officials said; he was recovered at the D-29 Darby Fork mine in Harlan County.
According to the report, Brown began his shift as a roof bolt operator late Sunday at the mine, the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet said. The roof fell about an hour later, more than 2 miles (3 kilometers) from the entrance.
The fatality at the D-29 Darby Fork mine was the sixth coal mining death in the U.S. this year and the second in Kentucky.
Brown wasn’t just a coal miner but also the father of three children and worked for more than a decade in mining. The family attorney is urging the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration to allow a family representative to observe interviews conducted by accident investigators.
According to reporting, the mine is owned by Inmet Mining LLC, which is based out of Knoxville, Tennessee. According to Hunter Hobson, CEO of Inmet Mining, crews recovered the body after spending all day and night Monday searching for Brown. “Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with James’ family and also his coworkers at INMET,” Hobson said. “We were praying for a different outcome.”
The state cabinet said an equipment operator was nearby when the roof collapsed on Brown.
All mine operations were shut down. The Kentucky Department for Natural Resources, Division of Mine Safety, sent investigators to the mine early Monday morning, the EEC said. Investigators are still looking into the cause of the collapse and how it could have been prevented.
While I haven’t seen a report on findings, I think the words that hit me the most in this article were “Investigators are still looking into the cause of the collapse and how it could have been prevented.”
Could it have been prevented?
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