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MSHA Confirms Victim in Paradise Coal Mine Accident Fell More Than 100 Yards



August 3, 2019 - According to a preliminary report, by the Mine Safety and Health Administration on July 31 around 4:30 p.m a contract employee was fatally injured when an ignition occurred in the intake air/man shaft of the KenAmerican Resources, Inc., Paradise Mine.

Four contract employees were in the process of preparing the seal for the intake shaft when an ignition occurred causing one of the employees to fall approximately 355 ft. into the air shaft.


MSHA investigators are on the scene and recovery operations are still ongoing.

MSHA says this is only results of a preliminary investigation and does not represent final determination with regards to the nature of the incident or conclusions regarding the cause of the incident.

Officials from the Kentucky Energy & Environment Cabinet (EEC), including Secretary Charles Snavely and Department for Natural Resources Commissioner John Small, are on-site at Paradise Mine in Central City, Kentucky where an accident occurred involving a 62-year-old welder/ironworker.

At approximately 5:30 p.m. July 31, Richard L. Knapp, an employee of Fricke Management & Contracting, Murphysboro, IL, was constructing a form which would be used to fill a mine shaft with concrete, part of an effort to seal and close the mine. A methane gas explosion in the shaft caused Knapp to fall. Recovery efforts are underway.

EEC mine personnel from across the state, as well as representatives from the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), and owner Kenamerican Resources, Inc. are on site to assist with the recovery operation. All operations at the mine were shut down Wednesday evening and remain closed.

“On behalf of the Cabinet, I want to extend my heartfelt prayers to the Knapp family as all parties work as swiftly as possible in the recovery effort,” Secretary Snavely said.

We will continue to follow this story as information becomes available.