Alpha Natural says electrician dies at legacy Massey mine

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 30, 2012 1:10 PM
Alpha Natural says electrician dies at legacy Massey mine

(Reuters) - An electrician working at a West Virginia mine owned by Alpha Natural Resources Inc was killed on Friday after being struck by a scoop used to transport supplies, becoming the second electrician to die at the mine in less than three years.

State and federal mine safety and health officials are investigating the incident, Alpha Natural said in a statement.

Alpha Natural was not immediately available to comment.

Steven O'Dell, 27, an employee of Alex Energy Inc passed away this morning, Alpha Natural said.

In July 2010, another electrician was killed at the Pocahontas Mine in Greenbrier County, after being run over by a shuttle car, according to the website of West Virginia Office of Miners' Health Safety and Training.

The mine is operated by White Buck Coal Co, previously owned by Massey Energy, which was acquired by Alpha for $7.1 billion in 2011.

On Wednesday, an ex-Massey employee, David Hughart, who was president of a group that controlled White Buck Coal Co, was charged with criminal conspiracy for ignoring safety regulations to boost production, according to court documents.

Hughart is the most senior Massey official to be prosecuted since the Upper Big Branch mine disaster that killed 29 miners, though he was not charged in connection with that accident.

Alpha inherited liabilities from the pending litigation over the Upper Big Branch mine accident in West Virginia, the worst U.S. mine disaster in four decades, when it acquired Massey.

Alpha agreed last December to pay $1.5 million to each of the families of the 29 miners who died as part of a $209 million settlement.

(Reporting by Swetha Gopinath in Bangalore; Editing by Supriya Kurane)