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Fayette County mine cited in December bulldozer death

A Fayette County mine has been issued three notices of violation after a man driving a bulldozer at the mine drove onto uneven ground and fell 100 feet in December, according to state reports.

More details about the December death were discussed at the state’s Board of Coal Mine Health and Safety at a meeting in Beckley Wednesday morning.

Thurman Watts, 34, was driving the bulldozer about 1 a.m. Dec. 29, 2017 when the bulldozer slipped.

According to the state’s report, Watts “traveled too close to the edge of the highwall and the ground under the dozer appeared to have given way.” The state’s Office of Miner’s Health, Safety and Training issued three notices of violation to Revelation Energy LLC, the company that owns S7 Surface Mine

One of the notices was for a special assessed violation, a larger fine reserved for more serious incidents.

Watts was found about 50 feet from the bulldozer and was having trouble breathing, the report says. He received CPR in an ambulance and was airlifted to a hospital. About 5:30 a.m., he was pronounced dead. He had worked at the mine for three weeks, but worked in mining for 10 years.

In its report, the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration said the death happened because safe work practices weren’t followed, and that the ground conditions were irregular. MSHA issued a citation to the mine, citing law that says mobile equipment operators must have control of the equipment.

Reach Kate Mishkin at, 304-348-4843 or follow @katemishkin on Twitter.

Funerals for Friday, July 19, 2019

Cawley Jr., George - 3 p.m., Gatens - Harding Funeral Home, Poca.

Cunningham, Corinna - 11 a.m., Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mt. Lookout.

Evenson, Warren - 2 p.m., Donel C. Kinnard State Veterans Cemetery, Dunbar.

Lawrence, Jerry - 1 p.m., Snodgrass Funeral Home, South Charleston.

Ratliff, Sarah - 2 p.m., Odd Fellow Cemetery, Oak Hill.

Williams, Scott - 11 a.m., Gatens - Harding Funeral Home, Poca.