Coal miner dies in accident at underground mine in Western Kentucky

An employee was killed early Wednesday at an underground coal mine in Western Kentucky, according to the state Energy and Environment Cabinet.

Rickey Thorpe, 29, of Dawson Springs was working on the head of a continuous-mining machine when it fell and crushed him, according to a news release.

The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration identified the mine as the Onton No. 9 mine, operated by Sebree Mining LLC and controlled by Alliance Resource Partners LP.

It is a large mine, with 2.4 million tons of production in 2014 and nearly 300 employees at the mine and a preparation plant in the second quarter of this year, according to federal records.

The MSHA database does not list a prior fatality at the mine. The injury rate at the mine was above the national rate last year but well below so far this year.

The death is the second mining-related fatality in Kentucky this year. In May, Roy Mullins, 45, died when he was crushed between a road grader and a tractor-trailer at surface mine in Pike County operated by Apex Energy.

The state recorded two coal-mining deaths in 2014.​


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