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Kentucky man killed in Claiborne County coal mine

5:28 PM, Sep 26, 2012   |    comments
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Kopper Glo Mine, Claiborne County

A Kentucky coal miner lost his life in East Tennessee Wednesday morning while doing his job.

The accident happened around 5:45 a.m. in the Kopper Glo deep coal mine. The mine sits off of Highway 90 in the Clairfield community in Claiborne County.

When the Claiborne County Sheriff's Department got the call, they believed Jeremy Perkins, 32 of Wallins Creek, KY, was trapped deep inside the coal mine.

After nearly an hour on curvy mountain roads, they arrived to find him dead on the scene.

"You hear about it on t.v... but when it happens here at home, it's surreal," said Detective Bobby Morelock of Claiborne County Sheriff's Office.

Morelock said this is the first time there has ever been a fatal accident at any mine in Claiborne County in his 17 year tenure.

The Kopper Glo mines operate one deep mine, called the Double Mountain Mine, and two surface mines.

The Sheriff's Department estimates Perkins was at least one to two miles underground.

A witness report shows Perkins was digging at the deepest point of this mine when he asked a co-worker to hold a cable. The next thing the witness saw was the ceiling caving in on Perkins.

His co-workers were able to pull him out from under the large boulders that crushed him without additional help.

"Witnesses statements said no one could have controlled it. No one could've stopped it," said Morelock. "This is a dangerous job. These guys know that it's there. It came real this morning."

The Sheriff's Office says no others miners were ever trapped or in danger.

People who worked at the mines said off-camera that they were dismissed from work Wednesday when they arrived and did not know when they would report back.

10News made contact with Kopper Glo mines. A spokesperson there said the Mine Safety and Health Administration is conducting an investigation.

After looking through MSHA data, 10News found over the past ten years, the coal mine has had two accident investigations. Neither of those were fatal. One of those inicidents happened back in 2011. The other involved a contractor of Kopper Glo mine in June of this year.

We're also looking into dozens of past citations that led to fines at the mine, but are waiting on more information from MSHA.

Previous Story

Authorities have identified the miner who was killed in a mining accident in Claiborne County Wednesday morning.  No other miners are trapped.

According to a Claiborne County Sheriff's Office investigator, 32-year-old Jeremy Perkins from Wallins, Kentucky, was killed when boulders fell on him at the Kopper Glo Mine.

Kopper Glo Mine is located in the Clairfield area off of Highway 92.

Perkins' family has been notified.

According to the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), there have been no fatal accidents at the mine in the last decade.  There have been two accident investigations in that time, one in 2011 and in June 2012.

Previous story

Several boulders fell killing a man inside a Claiborne County mine early Wednesday morning according to a Claiborne County Sheriff's Office investigator.

The unnamed mine is in the Fork Ridge area of Clairfield.  

Authorities say crews were able to get the man out of the mine and transport him to the hospital in Tazewell.

10News has a crew en route.

Stay with 10News and wbir.com for more on this developing story.

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