Coal Mine With History of Safety Violations Collapses, Two Workers Dead

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WHARTON, W.Va. (AP) — Two workers were trapped and killed at a West Virginia coal mine with a history of violating health and safety regulations, a federal official said Tuesday.

A ground failure occurred at the mine around 8:30 p.m. Monday, trapping the workers, spokeswoman Amy Louviere of the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration told The Associated Press in an email. The miners' bodies were recovered, and agency personnel were on the site of Brody Mine No. 1 in Boone County, she said.

The state Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training identifies the workers as 48-year-old Eric D. Legg of Twilight and 46-year-old Gary P. Hensley of Chapmanville.

In October, the safety agency designated the mine as a pattern violator, meaning it had repeatedly broken federal health and safety regulations in the previous year.

Mine owner St. Louis-based Patriot Coal said in a statement at the time that it believed the mine didn't qualify for the status and that it intended to contest it.

During the most recent review period from April 1, 2013, to March 31, MSHA cited the mine for 192 safety violations, including 33 for high or reckless disregard for miners' health and safety. The mine also received four citations this month for violations including damaged rollers or other conveyor belt components.

A Patriot spokeswoman did not immediately respond to an email Tuesday from The AP.

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