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W.Va. hit with second mining death in 2 days

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A coal miner was killed in a hoisting accident at a Raleigh County mine Thursday night, in the second deadly coal-mining incident this week in West Virginia.The incident occurred at about 9:20 p.m. at Affinity Coal Co.'s Affinity Mine near Sophia, according to the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration. Affinity is owned by Ukraine-based Metinvest B.V., according to MSHA records.The state Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training identified the miner who died as Edward L. Finney, 43, of Bluefield, Va.MSHA officials said the incident involved the mine hoist, a mechanism used to transport workers and equipment in and out of the mine."While pushing a scoop bucket insert full of trash onto a hoist, the hoist moved unexpectedly," MSHA said. "Reportedly, the hoist picked up the scoop and trapped the victim under the scoop, causing crushing injuries."
Last year, MSHA inspectors cited Affinity Coal when they discovered the mine's conveyor belt foreman notifying workers underground in advance of an impending state and federal mine inspection."The mine operator was issued a citation and, to abate it, MSHA required that all certified foremen and dispatchers be trained in the requirements of the Mine Act regarding advance notification, and that a notice be conspicuously posted in the mine office to ensure future compliance with the Mine Act," MSHA said in a news release after the February 2012 incident.On Wednesday, 34-year-old Brandon E. Townsend of Delbarton was killed and a second miner injured when a hydraulic jack blew up at Patriot Coal's Five Mile Prep Plant in the Campbells Creek area.The two incidents were the second and third U.S. coal-mining fatalities so far in 2013, according to MSHA's official count.Last year, West Virginia led the nation, with seven coal-mining deaths, according to MSHA figures.Reach Ken Ward Jr. at or 304-348-1702.
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