Two deaths confirmed at Patriot Coal mine in Boone County, WV - WTRF 7 News Sports Weather - Wheeling Steubenville

LATEST: Brody Mine No. 1, where 2 fatalities occurred, previously issued Pattern of Violations notice by MSHA

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Image of Eric Legg who died Image of Eric Legg who died
Two miners killed in Patriot Coal mine in Boone County, WV Two miners killed in Patriot Coal mine in Boone County, WV
Two miners killed in Patriot Coal mine in Boone County, WV Two miners killed in Patriot Coal mine in Boone County, WV
UPDATE:

The Boone County mine where two workers died in a May 12 incident has a history of safety problems.

The West Virginia Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training confirmed May 13 that Eric D. Legg, 48, of Twilight, West Virginia, and Gary P. Hensley, 46, of Chapmanville, West Virginia, died in an incident, which occurred at approximately 8:47 p.m. May 12 at the Brody No. 1 mine, which Patriot Coal acquired Dec. 31, 2012.

In a press release from Oct. 2013, Patriot Coal responded to the U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration about its notification about a Pattern of Violations (POV) at its Brody No. 1 mine.  

Before the POV notification, Patriot submitted a Compliance Improvement Plan to MSHA Jan. 2. 2013 and a Corrective Action Plan Sept. 6, 2013.  MSHA approved the Corrective Action Plan Sept. 17, 2013 but issued the POV to Brody Mine No. 1 on Oct. 24, 2013.

A POV is the last resort of MSHA before asking a judge to close the mine and the mine must meet certain criteria to be considered having a Pattern of Violations and according to MSHA is used to "rein in chronic violators." Brody Mine No. 1 is in a group of three mines that were issued a POV under new rules that became effective March 25, 2013. The three mines were the first mines to be issued POVs since the new rules became effective.

At the time of the POV notification, Brody Mine No. 1 was being operated as subsidiary of Patriot Coal. Patriot Coal argued in its statement that many of the violations at the mine took place under previous ownership and filed an appeal for temporary relief on Nov. 21, 2013.  A judge denied that appeal stating that Brody Mining LLC hadn't met the burden of proof that its miners' safety and health wouldn't be affected by the temporary relief order.  In 2013, Brody Mine was issued 514 citations by MSHA.

A Sunshine Act Notice was given May 8, 2014 as an alert that a hearing was scheduled for May 22, 2014 for the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission to hear arguments concerning the POV issued to Brody Mine No. 1.

Find the full POV letter and violations by click here.

Since being placed on the POV, Brody Mine No. 1 has received 69 withdrawal orders.  A withdrawal order makes the mine evacuate any portion of the mine affected by the violations.  Since April 2010, six impact inspections have been conducted at Brody Mine No. 1.  MSHA describes impact inspections as "special inspections that are meant to target mines with chronic compliance issues."

Since the new rules went into effect, only four POVs have been issued. Three of those are in West Virginia and one is in eastern Kentucky. MSHA has not issued any notices in 2014.  

A statement from Patriot Coal says both Eric Legg and Gary Hensley were performing retreat mining operations at the time of the incident.  They were working in the 4 East Mains Panel, in the No. 6 entry.  A report by the Kentucky Department for Natural Resources describes retreat mining as the process of extracting or moving pillars inside the mine and allowing the roof to cave behind the face.
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UPDATE:

Statements continue to come in from officials about the Brody No. 1 Mine incident in Boone County.

"We express our deepest sympathies to Eric's and Gary's families, friends and co-workers," said Mike Day, Patriot Executive Vice President - Operations. "We are fully cooperating with state and federal mine regulatory agencies to investigate this incident."

"Along with West Virginians everywhere, my prayers and deepest sympathies are with the families of the two coal miners we lost last night. We know that mining deaths and injuries are preventable, and last night’s tragedy is particularly troubling given the operator’s history of safety violations. Every step must be taken to make sure this operator – and all operators for that matter – are held accountable for the safety and health of their miners," said U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va.

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UPDATE:

The West Virginia Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training (WVOMHS&T) has confirmed that a fatal incident occurred Monday night at Patriot Coal's Brody No. 1 Mine in Boone County May 12.

Eric D. Legg, 48, of Twilight, West Virginia, and Gary P. Hensley, 46, of Chapmanville, West Virginia, died in the incident, which occurred at approximately 8:47 p.m.

No additional injuries have been reported, and no miners are reported to be trapped. WVOMHS&T inspectors remain at the site of the incident, and preliminary indications are that the incident resulted from a coal outburst.

An outburst is the sudden and violent ejection of coal, gas and rock from a coal face and surrounding strata in an underground coal mine.

“I am saddened to learn of the loss of life overnight at the Brody Mine in Boone County," said U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va. "My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the miners who were taken too early from this life. I know I am joined by families throughout our state in expressing heartfelt sympathy.”

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UPDATE:

West Virginia State Police have confirmed the deaths of two miners following a roof collapse at the Brody Mine #1 near Wharton, WV.

Family members have identified one of the victims as Eric Legg. The other victim has not been identified at this point.

Some previous MSHA violations, of the 250 at Brody Mine No. 1 include methane hazards, emergency preparedness/escapeway hazards, and roof hazards. In addition to MSHA violations at Brody mine - inspectors say the mine failed to report some injuries to the agency. Brody Mine #1 received more than 250 'significant and substantial' violations in a 2013 MSHA review.

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UPDATE:

Family members confirm at least one miner has died from injuries he sustained in the Brody Mine #1 accident in Boone County, WV overnight.

The family identifies the fallen miner as Eric Legg. 13 News spoke with his daughter before she discovered that he didn't survive. She said, "I can't wait to hug my dad when he walks out of the mine. My dad is a hero."

At this time the death has not been confirmed by state or federal officials.

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ORIGINAL, 1:05 a.m. May 13, 2014:

Families of miners who work at Brody Mine in Boone County, WV are gathering at the mine's gate.

Families say mine rescue teams and emergency crews responded to the Wharton location around 10:30 p.m. Monday night.

The families at the gate said they heard that a collapse happened inside the mine in Section One and they went straight there.

Brody Mine officials are not telling the families anything at this time.

13 News has made numerous calls to the West Virginia State Department of Miners' Heath and Safety, the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, MSHA, and Boone County Emergency officials.

We have not heard back from anyone with those agencies at this time.