COAL MINE FATALITY
- At approximately 11:18 am, on June 8, 1999, an Aerospaitiale A-Star helicopter landed at a mine site and five passengers, including two mine management personnel disembarked. After being on the ground about two minutes, the helicopter proceeded to lift off en route to an airport to refuel, after which the helicopter was to have returned and picked up the same passengers to continue a tour of highwall miner sites owned by the company. When the helicopter lifted off, it traveled approximately one-half mile in a westerly direction as it gained altitude. The helicopter came in contact with two phase conductor wires of a 46,400 volt overland power transmission line that was crossing the mine property. The two phase conductor wires were severed and the helicopter fell to the ground and crashed, resulting in the death of the pilot.
Where helicopter landings are occurring on mine property, mine management should assure that the pilot is aware of all overhead power transmission lines and other hazards that could be encountered.
This is the 15th fatality reported in calendar year 1999 in the coal mining industry. As of this date in 1998, there were 12 fatalities. This is the first fatality classified as Other in 1999.
For more information:
MSHA's Fatal Accident Investigation Report [FTL99C15]