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At least one worker trapped at collapsed Kentucky coal preparation plant has died, governor says

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November 1, 2023
By The Associated Press

Global OHS News Kentucky

At least one of two workers trapped at a collapsed 11-story coal preparation plant that was being demolished at an abandoned mine site in eastern Kentucky has died, Gov. Andy Beshear announced Wednesday.

The building at Martin Mine Prep Plant collapsed around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, trapping the men beneath multiple floors of concrete and steel and teams are working to rescue them, Kentucky Emergency Management said in a news release on Wednesday.

Officials didn’t know the extent of the other man’s injuries.

In a social media post Wednesday morning, Beshear said he had declared a state of emergency in the county — mobilizing state resources to help with the rescue. The governor asked for prayers for the safety of the workers and the rescue teams.

“Kentucky, keep praying — but the scene is bad,” Beshear said in a post about two hours later.


The workers were trapped under multiple floors of concrete and steel while working to demolish the building at the abandoned mine site on Wolf Creek, Martin County Judge Executive Lon E. Lafferty said in a social media post early Wednesday.

The plant hasn’t been in use for several years, Kirk said. The men were on the bottom floor of the building when it collapsed, trapping them beneath tons of rubble, Kirk said.

Several rescuers were inside the rubble as part of the rescue effort, Kirk said. The rescue could take days, Kirk said.

“This is a lot of weight. A lot of large metal structures, a lot of concrete, and very confined space last. Very tight spaces,” he said.


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