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Officials identify victim in deadly Giles County mining accident

UPDATE – 12:45 p.m. Wednesday

We now know the name of the victim who died in a Giles County mining accident on Monday afternoon.

The Virginia Department of Energy has identified the man as 50-year-old Stuart R. Moore from Oak Hill, West Virginia.

Authorities say he began working at the site in Ripplemead just nine weeks ago.

The mine remains closed Wednesday as the Virginia Department of Energy and the Mining Safety and Health Administration continue their investigations.

Stay with 10 News as this breaking news story develops

UPDATE – 6:45 p.m. Tuesday

Officials have released the age of the person who died in a Giles County mining accident on Monday afternoon.

The victim was 50 years old and had worked at the site for nine weeks, according to Tarah Kesterson with the Virginia Department of Energy.

Kesterson said the accident happened at Level Seven of the underground mine. She was not able to provide information on exactly how deep that is.

Kesterson said her team is currently interviewing witnesses and plans to return to the site of the accident Tuesday night.

ORIGINAL STORY

Investigations are underway to determine what caused a mining accident at the Lhoist Chemical Lime Plant in Giles County.

First responders were called to the plant at 3:58 p.m. on Monday afternoon for the incident.

Initial reports say an excavator tipped over killing one person and injuring another.

Both people were identified to be employees of Gillmann Services Inc., a contractor operating at the facility.

The company declined to comment on the investigation.

Both the Virginia Department of Energy and the Mine Safety and Health Administration are conducting their own investigations of the accident.

While they are doing individual investigations, Tarah Kesterson, Communications Manager for the Virginia Department of Energy, said they are continuing to work side by side with MSHA to figure out the cause.

“Our teams will compare notes to really determine what caused this accident,” Kesterson said.

There have not been any fatalities at the Lhoist plant since 1994. In fact, Kesterson made it clear accidents like this don’t happen often at all.

“We couldn’t even find a serious accident in the last two decades that happened there. So their safety record was pretty impeccable. It was very good. This is not common at all,” Kesterson said.

Right now the agencies are not calling the accident a mining “collapse.” A collapse would entail either the roof or the wall of the mine had come down.

At the time of the accident, miners were said to be moving excess spoiled material out of the mine. Kesterson says her team is not ruling out anything that could have caused the accident.

Mining accidents are taken on a case-by-case scenario and there is no timetable for when the investigation will conclude.


Source: WSLS News 10

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