Cornelius Yates, 44, of Shelbiana, Ky., was operating a roof bolting machine when a section of the roof at Maverick Mining Co. LLC No. 1 mine in Pikeville, Ky., collapsed, according to the Kentucky Office of Mine Safety and Licensing. The section of roof was approximately 20 feet wide, 10 feet long and 4 1/2 feet thick, according to the agency.
"Upon learning of the accident, a trained rescue team was in the mine within the hour, but regrettably, Mr. Yates showed no signs of life," Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher said. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Mr. Yates."
The Kentucky Office of Mine Safety and Licensing and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) are investigating the accident, which was Kentucky's first mine fatality of 2006.
Nationwide, Yates' death is the 14th mining fatality this year, 13 of which have been in coal mining, according to MSHA. Earlier this month, 12 miners died after an explosion at the Sago Mine in Upshur County, W.Va.