Last year, 21 coal miners died in mining accidents, and eight of them were in Kentucky. I’ve reported on many of these deaths on our website and on the air, but most only after the fact. Two of these mine deaths—the deaths of 47-year-old Darrel Alan Winstead and Samual Joe Lindsey, 23—in a roof fall at an Ohio County mine were reported nearly real-time, as rescuers worked to uncover the men. The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration released its report into the deaths today.
Winstead and Lindsey were blasters employed by the Mine Equipment and Mill Supply Company, or Memsco. They were working at the Equality Mine, a surface mine owned by Armstrong Coal Company. It was their job to place explosives and detonate them to uncover coal seams, but early in the morning of October 28, 2011, a wall in the mine collapsed and buried the two men in their truck.