By Tom Latek
June 4, 2019 - A 48-year-old coal miner died after injuries sustained in a mine accident in Harlan County, Kentucky on May 22.
The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet said Felix “Matt” North, of Miracle, suffered critical injuries at the Rex Coal Co. mine CVB#1 in Cumberland.
He was a miner operator with 12 years of experience.
North was operating a continuous miner and positioning the machine’s cable and water line when the rib, or wall, unexpectedly collapsed causing injuries to his lower body. He was transported to Johnson City Medical Center where he remained in critical condition.
The Kentucky Department for Natural Resources, Division of Mine Safety, sent investigators to the site following the accident. All mining operations were shut down and remained closed until May 28, when the Division of Mine Safety approved an action plan submitted by the mine.
“We are heartbroken to learn of the passing of a Kentucky coal miner, Matt North, who was critically injured last week in an accident in Harlan County,” said Gov. Matt Bevin. “Citizens across Kentucky stand united in support of Matt’s family, friends, and the entire Southeast Kentucky community as they mourn this tragic loss.”
“To all those who recognize the power and comfort that comes from Divine intercession, I ask that you pray for peace and healing for each person affected by the untimely death of this hardworking man.”
The Division of Mine Safety began an inspection of the mine in April. It is ongoing.
“My deepest sympathies go out to the North family,” Kentucky Energy and Environment Secretary Charles G. Snavely said. “We work every day to keep miners safe and make mining a fatality-free occupation.”
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there have been two mining fatalities in Kentucky this year. The other occurred in January at Tom’s Fork Mine in Bell County.