Worker Killed in Pennsylvania Mine Collapse, State Officials Say

A worker was fatally injured in a mine collapse in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, on Friday afternoon, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection said in a statement.

The administration said it suspected part of the mine’s roof had fallen onto the equipment the miner was working on. The agency declined to identify the miner, but said the person’s family and relatives had been notified.

On Saturday, department spokeswoman Lauren Fraley said no one else had been arrested under the collapse.

On Friday afternoon, the Department of Environmental Protection received a report of a roof collapse and a trapped miner at the Lane Laurel Aggregates Lake Quarry in Springhill Township, on the border of Pennsylvania and West Virginia, according to the statement. A rescue team from the Ministry’s Mine Safety Bureau responded to the accident.

According to the statement, Laurel Aggregates and the rescue team worked for hours removing loose rocks to reach the equipment and “moving it under a solid, roof-supported area to eventually rid the individual.” During the rescue, the miner was unresponsive, and the crews were unable to assess the person’s condition.

At 11:03 p.m., the individual was removed from the mine by the Smithfield Volunteer Fire Department and mine rescue team. The death of the miner was announced at the scene.

The collapse will be investigated by the Federal Department of Mines Safety and Health, which describes materials mined in a quarry as “broken limestone.”

“The Department of Environmental Protection will issue an initial work report with overall findings and a final report with its full identification of the cause and potential corrective measures required from the mine operator to ensure this type of situation does not happen again,” the agency said.

According to the Department of Environmental Protection, although mining in Pennsylvania peaked in the early 1900s, there are still more than 40 active underground coal mines in the state. There are at least 5,000 abandoned underground mines throughout the state.

During the heyday of US coal mining, thousands of miners died in fatal accidents each year, according to data from the Mine Safety and Health Administration, a division of the US Department of Labor. Coal mining accidents have dropped dramatically, with only five coal mine deaths recorded in 2020.

The last time a mine roof collapsed in Pennsylvania was last May, when a mine operator “exceeded the maximum cutting depth” in the mine, causing the roof to collapse. The worker died in the accident.

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