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COAL MINE FATALITY - On December 21, 1995, about 4:00 am, a mobile bridge operator with 14 years mining experience was fatally injured when the highwall collapsed above the underground mine drift opening. The victim was part of a crew installing a belt drive motor on the surface near the drift opening. When the highwall started falling, three miners ran away from the highwall to safety. The victim ran under the drift opening metal canopy. Several minutes later, a large section of the highwall, measuring 22 feet by 25 feet by 4 feet gave way collapsing the drift opening metal canopy and crushing the victim. The highwall was subject to the adverse effects of freezing and thawing where it contained unconsolidated materials, laminations and mud seams that were emanating water in the drift opening area.

This is the 46th coal mine fatality in 1995. As of December 21, of last year there had been 44 fatalities. This death is the third classified as FALL OF FACE, RIB, OR SIDE and the first involving a HIGHWALL in 1995.

Photograph of the accident scene

For more information:
Fatal Alert Bulletin Icon MSHA's Fatal Accident Investigation Report [FTL95C46]