West Virginia records 4th mining death of 2017

PINEVILLE, W.Va. — A southern West Virginia coal miner died in a mining accident Thursday night in Wyoming County, authorities said.

Luches Rosser, 44, of Man, was killed at Seneca Coal Company’s Pinnacle Mine while operating an electric locomotive, said the state Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training.

The underground accident happened at 11:10 p.m.

Rosser was employed as a shuttle car operator and a member of United Mine Workers of America Local Union 1713, sais UMWA president Cecil Roberts.

“The hearts and prayers of the entire UMWA family are with the family of our brother,” Roberts said in a statement. “Our Local Union and International safety representatives are at the mine now, participating in the investigation of this incident. We stand ready to assist Brother Rosser’s family in any way we can.”

Seneca spokesman George Mickum said the company was cooperating with state and federal investigators.

“Keep the Rosser family in their prayers during this most difficult time,” a Seneca statement said.

News of the fourth recorded mining death this year in West Virginia also reached the House of Delegates Friday.

“He graduated from Man High School and had three kids,” shared Wyoming County Delegate Tony Paynter during remarks at the beginning at the House floor session Friday. “These guys put it on the line every night for our families and to give us electricity and provide for the state and the world. They don’t get much respect. It’s a thankless job.”

Delegates observed a moment of silence.

“No matter how safe we try to make it, this is always going to be a dangerous job,” Paynter said.

Gov. Jim Justice released a statement:

“Cathy and I are praying for the family and friends of the coal miner who lost his life last night in Wyoming County. It’s never easy to see someone so young leave us and it breaks my heart when West Virginia loses a member of the coal community. I spent many years of my childhood in Wyoming County and my roots are deep there. Great coal mining families always come together, and that’s what we have to do at this time.”

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin also released a statement:

“As a West Virginian, the loss of a coal miner is always heartbreaking and the loss of Luches Rosser in Wyoming County today is no exception. Today we are reminded of the unimaginable sacrifices our coal miners and their families make. Gayle and I join all West Virginians in sending our thoughts and prayers to the Rosser family.”

The Pinnacle Mine was acquired by Seneca Coal Resources an affiliate of ERP Compliant Fuels in December 2015.

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