Miner killed, another injured in Black Thunder coal mine

One miner is dead and another injured after an early Friday morning incident at Arch Coal’s Black Thunder coal mine in Wyoming, officials say.

A power shovel that was traveling up a ramp, rolled back and struck a pickup truck, said Amy Louviere, spokeswoman for the Mine Safety and Health Administration, in an email. Jacob Dowdy, 24, was killed in the incident about 12:30 a.m., said Kim Link of St. Louis-based Arch Coal Inc. in an email.


Another miner was trapped in the truck and later taken to a hospital but “apparently not seriously injured,” Louviere wrote. Campbell County Sheriff Bill Pownall identified the injured miner to the Big Horn Mountain Radio Network as a 38-year-old man from Wright. Pownall didn’t return a Star-Tribune phone call.

Dowdy had been employed at the mine for nearly three years, Link wrote. He’s listed on his Facebook page as a resident of Upton. He was an all-state football player in 2006 as a junior at Upton High School.

“We wish to extend our deepest sympathies to Mr. Dowdy’s family, friends and coworkers at this most difficult time,” said Keith Williams, president of Arch Coal’s Thunder Basin Coal Co., in a prepared statement. “We are profoundly saddened by the loss. The safety of our team members remains our number one priority.”

MSHA has responded and will launch an investigation, Louviere said.

Black Thunder mine employed 1,635 people at the end of 2012 and produced 93 million tons of coal last year — more than a quarter of total production from mines in Wyoming’s portion of the Powder River Basin.

The most recent worker death at a Wyoming coal mine was in 2011, when contractor Cody Brown, 29, of Spearfish, S.D., was killed at the North Antelope Rochelle coal mine owned by St. Louis-based Peabody Energy.

Brown, an employee of Wyoming-based Weston Engineering Inc., was killed while he was helping free a drill pipe stuck in a water well.



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