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Feds: Deadly EKY mining accident happened due to unresolved safety/inspection issues

Coal mining accident
Coal mining accident(MGN)
Published: May. 16, 2022 at 11:03 PM EDT
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BELL COUNTY, Ky. (Herald-Leader/WYMT) - A Federal report finds that a deadly accident at the Colmar Mine in Bell County back in January was the result of the operator not fixing an unsafe condition or properly inspecting for hazards, as reported by the Lexington Herald-Leader.

32-year-old Cecil Todd Collett of Pennington Gap, Va. died after a tree weighing more than 6,000 pounds fell on the pickup truck he was driving at the mine, per a report from the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).

A passenger, 45-year-old Joshua Pendleton of Ewing, Va., was seriously injured.

The tree fell off the top of a highwall, which is a cliff created by blasting and digging into the side of a hill to find coal.

According to the report, the approved plan called on the mine to clear trees at the top back a safe distance, which the MSHA investigation determined was not done.

The MSHA cited Nally & Hamilton, the company that owns the mine, for not following the plant and for failing to identify, report and correct the hazardous situation.

The Kentucky Division of Mine Safety assisted in the investigation.

This is one of two deadly mining accidents in Eastern Kentucky this year. The other was at a mine in Harlan County and occurred when a section of roof fell on an employee operating a roof-bolting machine.

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