Utah Mining Accident Kills One
January 30th, 2006 @ 12:00pm
(KSL News/AP)-- A miner is dead after a tragic mining accident in Carbon County.

Officials from the Andalex Resource Company say a miner was hit with a piece of coal last night, killing him. It happened around 11 pm at the Aberdeen mine near Price.

Company president Doug Smith tells KSL News that the equipment operator was working on the long wall face when a "unique burst of coal" struck him and fatally injured him. No one else was hurt.

His death has hit hard, as he was a longtime employee and was well liked.

Doug Smith President, Andalex Resources Inc.: "Obviously it's a blow to all of us. We knew him well, and that's not something you'll get over."

Smith says the company is investigating the incident. That investigation may take several days.

In long wall mining, a huge grinding machine goes back and forth across a mine face that is 750 feet wide and 9 feet high. That procedure sometimes causes stress to build up inside the coal seam. Once in a while, the coal seam will burst, sometimes with deadly force.

Apparently several chunks of coal flew off the long wall face, at speeds comparable to a pitched baseball.

The Aberdeen mine is one of the deepest in the United States at nearly 3,000 feet, according to the Utah Geological Survey. About 200 miners work in the area at two adjacent mines run by Andalex resources.

Company officials are in the process of notifying family members, and are not releasing any more information about the miner at this time.

It was the 16th coal mine fatality in the United States so far in 2006, according to the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration web site.