CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A coal miner was killed on the job in eastern Kanawha County Wednesday, the first mining-related death in West Virginia so far this year and the second for the nation.
The miner, identified Thursday as 34-year-old Brandon E. Townsend of Delbarton, died when a hydraulic jack exploded at the Blue Creek Prep Plant, operated by Midland Trail Energy at Campbells Creek near Malden. The facility is operated as a subsidiary of Patriot Coal.
Another person suffered a minor injury in the incident, said Leslie Fitzwater, spokeswoman for the state Miners Health, Safety and Training office.
Kanawha Metro 911 Dispatchers initially reported it was a Catenary Coal mine, but Fitzwater said the facility actually is on Catenary Road.
The call came in about 4:02 p.m.
Inspectors from the Miners Health, Safety and Training office were at the site Wednesday evening. County paramedics also were sent to the mine.
The Blue Creek mining complex, located about five miles up Campbells Creek, consists of two underground mines. One is operated by the company and the other is contractor-operated, according to Patriot's website.
The facility uses continuous mining methods and the coal produced there is sold on the thermal market.
It was the second mining death in the United States for 2013. Seven miners were killed last year in West Virginia.
The last incident occurred in December at the Robinson Run No. 95 Mine near Lumberport in Harrison County. Markel Koon, 58, of Shinnston was operating a bulldozer near a slurry pond when the embankment gave way, sending the heavy equipment into the pond with the operator trapped inside.
It took more than a week to remove the bulldozer and Koon's body from the pond. That incident remains under investigation.
The other mining-related fatality this year occurred Jan. 26 at Begley Resources No. 1 Mine in Short Creek, Ky. That mine is owned by T and T Energy.
The Kentucky Office of Mine Safety and Licensing identified the victim in that case as Jerry A. Watts, 52. Watts worked as a welder and was working on bulldozer blade when a jack slipped, according to the Courier-Journal, a newspaper in Louisville, Ky.