UPDATE Miner killed in accident

An Eastern Kentucky miner is dead today after an accident early this morning at a mine on Maggard Branch.

It happened at about two a.m. in the Owlco Energy mine behind the Cumberland River Volunteer Fire Department.

This is the fourth mining-related fatality in Kentucky this year.

23-year-old Richard Coots, Jr. of Ages is dead after a mining accident at Owlco Energy in Partridge.

Coots was repairing a conveyor chain when the bridge collapsed on top of him.

"A crushing injury from what is referred to as a bridge inside the coal mine that the belt runs through that has the coal moving to the outside," said Letcher County Deputy Coroner Perry Fowler.

Fowler says nearby miners removed Coots from the rubble.

"His brother was with the crew that brought him out. They were working together in the same area in the mine," said Fowler.

The miners say they performed CPR, but it was too late.

"The apparatus had fallen on him and crushed his upper chest," said Fowler.

The mine is closed while investigators try to determine what caused the accident.

Office of Mine Safety and Licensing officials say they first have to gather preliminary information.

"They go and they make measurements, and they check the physical conditions of the equipment and gather all the physical facts from the accident scene," said Johnny Greene, Executive Director of the Kentucky Office of Mine Safety and Licensing.

Greene says witnesses in the mine will be interviewed Saturday.

After officials from the Kentucky Office of Mine Safety and Licensing sit down with the victim's family and the mining company, the accident report will be public record.

Officials at Owlco Energy say they do not want to comment.


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