On February 5, 1986, the shift foreman at the Loveridge No. 22 coal mine discovered damage in the rails of a tripper belt structure above the raw coal storage bin.
The next day at approximately 11:00 a.m., seven company and contractor officials walked to the top of a raw coal pile located below the rails to inspect the damage. About five minutes later, a section of the coal pile that was 4 to 6 feet in diameter suddenly collapsed. Five of the individuals were rapidly swallowed by the hole and suffocated. The two others escaped injury.
MSHA investigators attributed the development of the crater to the normal operation of a feeder beneath the coal pile that was designed to move coal from the pile to a processing plant, and attributed the accident to management's failure to prevent the development of such craters and to detect their existence.
MSHA also determined that management contributed to the disaster by permitting people to walk and stand on the coal pile while reclaiming operations proceeded.
||Historical Summary of Mine Disasters in the United States - Volume II