Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet
Operations shut down at mine where fatality occurred
FRANKFORT, Ky. (July 23, 2007) – Kentucky mine regulators have issued an imminent danger cessation order and a notice of noncompliance to AEP Kentucky Coal LLC and CAM Mining LLC, the permittee and operator, respectively, of the Pike County surface coal mine where a mechanic was fatally injured by flying rock last Monday. The state also has ordered blasting operations to cease at the mine and suspended the license of the blaster while they continue to investigate the incident.
Bobby L. Messer, 40, was killed when struck in the head by flyrock from a blast more than a quarter of a mile away.
The accident occurred on the CAM Mining Mine No. 1, although the blast was detonated on an adjacent mine site. The mine is located near Ashcamp, in Pike County about six miles southwest of Elkhorn City.
The Kentucky Office of Mine Safety and Licensing (OMSL) and the Division of Mine Reclamation and Enforcement (DMRE) issued the order and notice earlier last week.
The Division of Explosives and Blasting of the OMSL was notified shortly after the accident, which occurred at about 4:35 p.m. EDT on Monday, July 16, 2007. The initial indication is that the victim was working in an equipment storage area at the time of the accident.
OMSL and DMRE, agencies of the Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet, are continuing their investigation of the accident. Investigators from the federal Office of Surface Mining (OSM) and the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration also are participating in the investigation.
OMSL has modified the closure order to permit cleanup of the shot area for investigative purposes. Blasting operations will not resume until the company has received approval for their blasting remediation plan from OSM, OMSL and DMRE. No penalties will be assessed until the investigation is completed.
Messer, of David in Floyd County, is survived by his wife and three children.