Monday, September 17, 2007

Miner found dead in Logan mine

Miner found dead in Logan mine

By Dawn Miller Staff writer

A coal miner was found dead at the bottom of a 350-foot mine shaft in Logan County Sunday morning, according to a West Virginia State Police trooper.
Robert D. Fraley, 53, had been missing for an uncertain stretch of time Sunday when workers found his body, according to State Police Trooper J.E. Williams.
“He was on the job and one of his co-workers realized he wasn’t in the area,” Williams said.
Although Williams said, “we have no reason to believe anything’s criminal” in the matter, he added, “circumstances may change” as investigators look into the incident. Williams was not available later Sunday for further clarification.

The Mingo Logan Coal Co. owns the Mountain Laurel Complex, the underground mine where Fraley was found dead, Williams said. The mine sits off W.Va. 17 in Sharples.

Mingo Logan is a subsidiary of St. Louis-based Arch Coal. Data on the West Virginia Mine Safety and Health Administration’s Web site notes that Arch has been the controller since July 1997.

Workers at the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management were notified of the death at 8:31 a.m., said Robert Jelacic, emergency services supervisor for the agency.

Williams said Fraley’s mining job required him to visit different West Virginia mines. Still, he was not exactly sure what duties Fraley performed. He may have been contracted to work at the Mingo Logan mine, Williams said.

The mine, also known as Mountaineer No. 2, reported 10 prior accidents for 2007 to federal regulators, according to MSHA’s Web site.
Of those minor accidents, seven involved injured workers.

This is the fifth mine fatality in West Virginia in 2007 and the second this month. On Sept. 3, Brent Reynolds, 35, of Virgie, Ky., was killed by a collapsing roof in the Consol of Kentucky Bronzite Mine near Naugatuck in Mingo County.

The death brings the nationwide number of mine fatalities this year to 25, according to data from the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration.