Five killed in Harlan, Co. mine explosion

Posted: 5/22/2006 by Floyd in Labels:

Holmes Mill, Ky. Five miners died early Saturday morning in Harlan, Co. a sixth miner survived the blast. The mine is operated by Kentucky Darby LLC and is near the Virginia border, the accident occured about 1 a.m. while a maintenance shift was on duty, the cause was not known immediately. Kentucky Gov. Ernie Flecther said preliminary evidence suggests methane may have leaked from a sealed-off portion of the mine, mixed with oxygen and then sparked by an unknown means. Harlan co. Coroner Philip Bianchi said autopsy results could be available as early as Sunday night.
Victims were; Amon Brock, 51, Jimmy D. Lee, 33, Roy Middleton, 35, George William Petra, 49, Paris Thomas Jr., 53.
The survivor was Paul Ledford, he was closer to the mine's exit, he was treated at Lomesome Pine Hospital in Big Stone Gap Virginia. The blast sprayed debris 100 yards from the mine entrance, Jeff Ledford who is the brother of Paul said that Paul's breathing device wasn't working properly, so he passed out from lack of oxygen, Jeff went on to say that it left such an impact on his brother, that he would never go back.
Mary Middleton who is the wife of Roy said he had been working at the mine since he was 18 years old, and they have two teenage daughters. She also said Roy had thought of coming out of the mines but they had two children,"it was a job to make a living."

Initial tests show 3 out of 5 mine deaths were due to carbon monoxide. The other two miners died of blunt force trauma and
heat injuries. Family members were upset to learn that 3 of the
miners had survived the blast but later, suffocated.
"It makes me upset that he smothered to death." They need to
to have more oxygen for them, Mary Middleton said.