UPDATE: Missing CONSOL Miner's Body Recovered from Bulldozer Cab - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

UPDATE: Missing CONSOL Miner's Body Recovered from Bulldozer Cab

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LUMBERPORT -

Update

Dive and rescue teams have successfully recovered the body of a CONSOL Energy employee at the CONSOL Robinson Run Mine in Harrison County Friday, according to a news release from CONSOL Energy.

"Today at 4:40 p.m., dive and rescue teams successfully completed a pipe dive recovery effort that enabled them to safely access the cab of the submerged bulldozer in CONSOL Energy's Nolan's Run slurry impoundment at its Robinson Run Preparation Plant," spokeswoman Lynn Seay wrote in an email update. "The diver was able to recover our employee from the cab of the bulldozer and bring him to the surface."

CONSOL has identified the man as Markel Koon, 58 of Shinnston, who was a CONSOL employee for almost 38 years. Koon's body was transported to the chief medical examiner's office in Charleston where an autopsy will be conducted, according to the news release.

The investigation into the cause of the accident by MSHA, the W.Va. Department of Miners' Health, Safety and Training, UMWA, CONSOL Energy and other parties is ongoing.

Update

MSHA issued an update regarding removing the CONSOL Robinson Run employee Thursday just after 5 p.m.

Crews have been working to cut the bulldozer cab, which started at 1:55 p.m., according to MSHA Spokesperson Amy Louvre.  The first dive was at 9:25 a.m. and divers encountered heavy frost and ice Thursday morning.

Crews had to reposition the pipe several times and they plan to continue working through Thursday evening.

Update

The recovery operations at the CONSOL Robinson Run Mine in Harrison County were suspended Tuesday night, according to MSHA spokesperson, Amy Louviere.

The divers at the recovery site will not resume work Wednesday and plan to acquire different tools needed in the attempt to cut through the top of the bulldozer cab and retrieve the victim, Louviere said.

The divers had previously attempted to cut a small hole using torches in the top of the cab, but were unable to maintain an arc, and water and slurry significantly inhibited the cutting process.

Divers believe that it could take up to two days to cut through the cab, according to Louviere.

Update

The missing Robinson Run CONSOL employee has been located inside a bulldozer cab, according to an update from CONSOL Energy Monday morning.

Dive and rescue teams completed a series of pipe dives throughout the weekend that helped to determine the position and location of the bulldozer in the Robinson Run Preparation Plant impoundment. The teams were able to reposition the pipe and adjust the water jets Sunday evening in preparation for a Monday morning dive. Monday morning, crews cut an opening in the canopy of the bulldozers and divers were able to confirm that the employee is inside.

CONSOL said it continues to provide regular updates to the miner's family members. CONSOL said it doesn't have an estimate on how long it will take to recover the employee from the bulldozer because the recovery effort is so complex. CONSOL has not released the name of the employee.

MSHA, the W.Va. Department of Mines, CONSOL Energy and other agencies are investigating the cause of the accident.


Update

MSHA issued a brief update Monday morning regarding the weekend search efforts for the missing miner at the CONSOL Robinson Run Mine.

"They have seen the cab but have not yet reached the miner", wrote MSHA spokesperson Amy Louviere.

Recovery efforts are scheduled to continue Monday, according to the email.

 


 

Update

MSHA issued an update regarding the search efforts for the missing miner at the CONSOL Robinson Run Mine Friday afternoon.

CONSOL's diving plan has been approved by MSHA and the state. A forensics dog was brought to the site Thursday and gave a positive reaction, indicating that the recovery team is working in the right location. The first dive attempt will happen around 10 a.m. Saturday morning.

As part of the recovery plan, a flotilla consisting of eight barges has been assembled. A 43- ton oscillating crane has been loaded onto and secured to the flotilla. It will be positioned with a 4-foot diameter pipe above the bulldozer, according to MSHA.

The pipe will pump fresh water down to push the sediment away from the dozer. Crews will attempt the first dive after the water has replaced the slurry in the pipe to the point where there is visibility.


Update

MSHA has issued a preliminary accident report describing the series of events that happened on Friday, Nov. 30 at Robinson Run Mine Number 95. MSHA has classified the accident type as a fatal injury.

A massive failure of the upstream face of the saddle dam for the Nolans Run Slurry Impoundment happened at the CONSOL Energy mine, according to the report.

A section of the dam, approximately 650 feet long, 20 to 25 feet above the water's surface, and 70 feet back from the water's edge, broke and slid into the impoundment.

MSHA lists that there are 590 people employed at the mine and there were 180 employees in the mine at the time of the accident.

MSHA said four miners were working in the area where the failure happened and three of the miners and their equipment were swept into the impoundment. Two of the miners were standing near the face of the dam, looking over and recognized a failure was about to occur. They began to run but were pulled into the water, said MSHA in the report.

One of the miners swam to shore and the other was located and rescued by Nutter Fort Fire and Rescue. One bulldozer operator working near the face was inside his equipment when it slid into the impoundment and remains unaccounted for.

That employee was operating a Caterpillar D6 bulldozer, according to MSHA. The other bulldozer operator was further from the face area and was not affected by the failure, said MSHA.

Operations to retrieve the missing bulldozer operator are ongoing.

Update

CONSOL held a briefing call for the media Wednesday with the Vice President of Safety at CONSOL Energy, Lou Barletta.

Barletta highlighted the recovery plan for locating the missing CONSOL employee who has been in the Robinson Run Mine slurry pond since Friday, Nov. 30.

CONSOL confirms that a refuse embankment gave way, causing a bulldozer and two pickup trucks and three employees to slide into a slurry pond on the property. It said the embankment remains unstable and continues to shift, creating difficult rescue conditions.

CONSOL has two recovery plans in place to locate the missing employee and will initiate the plans, pending MSHA and state approval. Crews are still working to determine the orientation of the bull dozer in the slurry, and are hopeful to find the man in the cab of the bull dozer.

The miner's name will not be released due to the family's request, Barletta said.

Barletta said longwall mining operations resumed Wednesday at Robinson Run, even while search continues for the miner lost in the slurry impoundment.


Update

MSHA has issued a procedure to begin moving barges out to the recovery location of a miner who has been missing since Friday at the CONSOL Robinson Mine.

Dredging will continue from the shoreline for 50 feet to facilitate movement of the barges to the work location, according to Amy Louviere with MSHA.

A 25-foot illuminated buffer zone will be established from the shore. Anyone within the buffer zone will be required to wear a life jacket and have a spotter.

A certified marine surveyor will confirm the loads of the barges and the barge platform. Various sizes of barge platforms will be at the recovery site and small boats will be used to maneuver the barges.

 

Update

The Mine Safety and Health Administration's mobile command vehicle has arrived at the slurry pond site of the CONSOL's Robinson Run Mine Monday, according to Amy Louviere with MSHA. The command center will serve as a location for meetings, plan review and video conferencing.

The company continues to evaluate the best method to reach the bull dozer and determine whether it is upright, on its side, or upside down. Crews began dredging the pond at approximately 1:30 p.m. Monday to permit barge access. Four barges are currently at the site, according to Louviere. 

The Robinson Run mine was idle during the weekend and resumed partial operations at midnight Sunday night.  CONSOL hopes to have all 605 employees working at full operations Tuesday, in compliance with the state and federal agencies that govern West Virginia coal operations.

CONSOL said its decision to shift towards full operations at the Robinson Run mine will not interfere with the impending recovery efforts. 

Investigation into the cause of the accident will commence on Tuesday morning.

Original story

Emergency crews continued their search Saturday morning for a possible drowning victim at a Harrison County coal mine. 

As of 7 p.m. Saturday, crews were able to locate the submerged bulldozer at the Robinson Run Portal Mine, according to CONSOL officials.  The dive crew is working to determine the depth of the dozer, will develop a recovery plan and continue searching for the mine employee Sunday morning. 

The call came in to 911 from CONSOL's Robinson Run Mine at 12:17 p.m. on Friday. The incident happened near the Robinson Run Portal, which is just outside of Lumberport.

CONSOL Energy canceled the 4:00-Midnight shift while it continued to work with state and federal mining officials on rescue efforts.

CONSOL confirms that a refuse embankment gave way, causing a bulldozer and two pickup trucks and three employees to slide into a slurry pond on the property.  It said the embankment remains unstable and continues to shift, creating difficult rescue conditions.

You can see the pond in this aerial view from Google Maps.

Harrison County EMS and HealthNet helicopters were called in.

CONSOL said one employee was transported by ambulance to UHC in Bridgeport and was treated and released.

Another man was flown to Ruby Memorial Hospital, in Morgantown.  He is in stable condition and was likely kept overnight for observation, according to CONSOL.

Firefighters are still searching for the third employee, according to officials.  Crews are draining the pond to find the man, who is still unaccounted for, according to Governor Earl Ray Tomblin.

The DEP has a helicopter trying to locate the dozer, and a boat is probing the bottom with a rod, according to MSHA officials.  The last inspection of the facility was Oct. 16 and there were not any violations listed in the report from that inspection, according to Kathy Cosco with the DEP.  

The standing water depth of the pond is about 12 feet. A survey team has been brought in to quadrant the area where the dozer is believed to be. A boat with sonar is getting ready to be launched. MSHA personnel are on site, along with company, state and UMWA officials, according to MSHA officials.

Firefighters from Lumberport, Shinnston and Nutter Fort, along with the Harrison County and Monongalia County dive teams, were also called to the scene, according to 911 officials.

The Harrison County Sheriff's department also responded.

State and federal mining officials were notified and are on the scene, CONSOL officials said.

The West Virginia Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training has been notified and has dispatched investigators to the scene, officials said. 

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin issued the following statement Friday night:  "Today, four families were shaken by the unexpected but always present danger associated with mining. While we strive to ensure the safety of our coal miners, accidents do occur," Gov. Tomblin said. "Joanne and I pray for the miners and their families. We ask all West Virginias to do the same."