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Company responds to latest mine fatality

UPDATE– Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin will sign an executive order Wed. for a mine safety stand-down given there have been four mining deaths in the last two weeks. A stand-down requires coal operators to halt production for one-hour during a 24-hour period to focus on safety.


United Coal Company officials say they are deeply saddened and concerned about the loss of a second miner at the Affinity Mine in Raleigh County this month.

Miner John Miles, 44, of Hilltop, West Virginia was killed around 8:00 last night when he was run over by a scoop.   

“We certainly want to offer very deep condolences to the Miles family,” said Jennifer Guthrie, spokesperson at the company’s headquarters in Blountville, Tennessee. “We’re very concerned and deeply saddened to have to announce the second incident and fatality here.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the family right now.”

Miner Edward Finney died in an accident at the Affinity Mine on February 7th.  Guthrie said the two incidents are not related.

Investigators say Miles was shoveling excess coal near the mine rib when he was run over by the machine.  Investigators are attempting to determine how it happened.  Until then, the mine is idle.

“Certainly all the employees have been sent home for the time being as we continue the investigation,” Guthrie said.

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