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Crews searching for Kentucky miner after roof collapse

March 21, 2022 GMT

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Crews were searching Monday for a Kentucky miner who was working alone when a roof collapsed deep underground, officials said.

James D. Brown, 33, of Lynch began his shift as a roof bolter operator late Sunday at the D-29 Darby Fork mine in Harlan County, which is owned by Inmet Mining LLC, of Knoxville, Tennessee, the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet said.

The collapse happened about an hour later, some 14,000 feet down into the coal mine, the cabinet’s statement said.

The Kentucky Division of Mine Safety sent investigators early Monday to the mine, which has suspended operations while the search continues, the statement said.

“The Kentuckians who go into mines daily to provide the coal that helps power this country face particular dangers and deserve our gratitude,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “Britainy and I are praying for the miner and his family – we all hope for his safe recovery.”

Kentucky Energy and Environment Secretary Rebecca Goodman said they first hope to find Brown safe, and “will then begin the process of examining what happened at this mine and how it could have been prevented.”