May 8, 2017 - The Rosebud County Sheriff and Coroner Allen Fulton confirmed an investigation began Saturday around 5 p.m. surrounding the death of an employee at the Westmoreland Coal Company mine in Colstrip, Montana.
Fulton was not able to confirm the employee’s name as of Sunday morning, but did say it was a male resident of Colstrip.
The Rosebud County Sheriff’s Office is waiting 24 hours for family to be notified before they release the man’s name.
Although an official cause of death has yet to be declared, an employee at the Rosebud Mine told Q2 the man was operating a 100-ton haul truck when it fell off of a 100-foot ledge.
A statement from the Westmoreland Coal Company confirmed one of their miners died in a "tragic truck accident at the Rosebud Mine" on May 6.
The Mine Safety and Health Administration is currently investigating the cause of the accident and is onsite, according to the statement.
According to the employee, a rescue team had to rappel down to retrieve the man’s body.
He believed the man worked in the mining industry for more than 20 years and was getting ready to sell his home in Colstrip, retire and move to Washington to be closer to his grandchildren.
Operations in the vicinity of the incident have been suspended pending investigation, according to the statement from the mine.
The mine, owned by Westmoreland Coal Company, has been in operation since 1968.
According to the company’s website, the Rosebud Mine is a 25,000-acre surface mine complex and produces approximately ten to 13 million tons of coal per year.
The full statement from Westmoreland Coal Company is a follows:
On Saturday, May 6th, 2017, one of Westmoreland Coal Company's miners died in a tragic truck accident at the Rosebud Mine in Colstrip, MT. The cause of the accident is currently under investigation and MSHA is onsite. Operations in the vicinity of the incident have been suspended pending investigation. Westmoreland expresses its deepest sympathies to the friends and families of our fallen team member. The safety and well-being of our team members continues to be Westmoreland’s top priority. We will provide updates as information becomes available.