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COAL MINE FATALITY - On Tuesday August 19, 1997, during the day, a windrow of gravel, 15 inches high by 4-feet wide by 0.7 of a mile long, was placed in the middle of a 50 foot wide surface mine haulage road. The gravel was placed to facilitate re-surfacing the haulage road. No flags, markers, or other devices were placed to warn vehicles of the presence of the windrow. Later in the evening, four miners were traveling in a passenger van on the haulage road at a normal rate of speed, when at 10:05 p.m., the van struck the end of the windrow and overturned. None of the miners were wearing seat belts. During the crash, a heavy equipment operator was ejected from the van suffering fatal crushing injuries. The remaining three miners suffered various non-life-threatening injuries.

This is the 22nd coal mine fatality in 1997. As of August 19 of last year there had been 21 fatalities. This death is the seventh classified as POWERED HAULAGE in 1997.

Photograph of Overturned Van

For more information:
Fatal Alert Bulletin Icon MSHA's Fatal Accident Investigation Report [FTL97C22]