PETTUS, W.Va. — A Raleigh County coal miner was found dead in a coal stockpile Monday afternoon, according to the state Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training.
James Ray Adkins, 48, of Colcord, was reported missing at the Marfork Coal Company’s Horse Creek Eagle Deep Mine near Clear Creek Monday morning. His body was found a few hours later in a raw coal stockpile at the Marfork Processing Plant near Pettus, authorities said.
Adkins was a belt man and fire boss at the mine.
State and federal mine investigators were on the scene Monday. The mine and processing plant were idled as part of the investigation.
Marfork Coal is a subsidiary of Alpha Natural Resources.
The death marks the 14th mining related death in the nation this year including seven in West Virginia.
Gov. Jim Justice and members of the state’s congressional delegate released statements Monday:
“Cathy and I are deeply saddened and our hearts are broken after learning of the death of one of our miners,” Gov. Justice said. “I ask all West Virginians to join us in praying for the Adkins family, their friends and all of our dedicated miners in West Virginia.”
Senator Joe Manchin:
“I am heartbroken to learn of the loss of James Adkins in Raleigh County today. We are again reminded of the incredible sacrifices made by our coal miners and their families each and every day. Gayle and I extend our thoughts and prayers to the friends and family of Mr. Adkins.”
Senator Shelley Moore Capito:
“Today, West Virginia lost one of its own, miner James Adkins. My sympathies go out to the Adkins family during this difficult time. Miners like James are the heart of our communities and work tirelessly to power our state, and we must never waiver in our commitment to keep them safe.”
Second District Congressman Alex Mooney tweeted:
“My thoughts & prayers are with James Adkins and his family”
Third District Congressman Evan Jenkins:
“I’m saddened to hear of the passing of miner James Ray Adkins, and our hearts go out to his family and the mining community. Mining truly is a brotherhood, and my prayers are with his loved ones and fellow miners. We can never forget the work our miners do each and every day.”