Two killed in separate accidents at West Virginia coal mines

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Two employees have died in separate accidents at coal mines in West Virginia this month, Gov. Jim Justice said Wednesday.

Timothy Keith Collins, 53, of Mill Creek, died in an accident Wednesday in Randolph County. He was an independent coal truck driver, Justice said at a news conference.

According to an incident report, the accident was reported shortly after 5 a.m. at Carter-Roag Coal’s Morgan Camp Mine. Collins had pulled his loaded coal truck off to the side of a haul road located between the mines and a cleaning plant. Collins was walking around the side when a truck ran over him.

On Aug. 4, Jeffrey Allen Hudnall, 60, died in an accident at Marfork Coal in the Raleigh County community of Packsville, Justice said.

A caller to 911 reported that Hudnall was working on top of a loader, lost his balance and fell to the ground, knocking him unconscious, according to an incident report.

The state Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training “will have a clearer and accurate understanding of what happened in each incident through its pending investigations,” said Lawrence Messina, a spokesperson for the state Department of Homeland Security.

The deaths brings the number of fatal incidents at West Virginia coal mines to five this year. There have been three other such deaths nationally, in Pennsylvania, Utah and Wyoming.

Justice, who also is a coal operator, said that the mining industry is dangerous and that “safety must continue to be stressed.”

“We’ve got to salute these great, great men and women that absolutely power this nation and produce the greatest coal on the planet for making steel and power the nation in so many ways. And they’ve done so forever,” Justice said. “What they’ve given us is so important.”

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