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Conveyor Belt Attendant First Coal Mine Fatality of 2017 Thinkstock

Conveyor Belt Attendant First Coal Mine Fatality of 2017

The 42-year-old worker became tangled in a belt mine roller, according to a preliminary investigation by the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration.

A Kentucky coal mine beltman died on Jan. 26 from injuries he sustained after being pulled into a belt drive roller.

Ray Hatfield Jr, of Hi Hat, Kentucky, was shoveling loose coal near a belt drive when he came into contact with a roller, according to the U.S. Mine Health and Safety Administration. No other employees witnessed the accident. Hatfield had 23 years of experience.

The mine, located in Pike County, Kentucky, has nine employees and produced more than 14,000 tons of coal last year, according to MHSA.

The state immediately shut down the mine’s operations to investigate the incident.

“I’m asking all Kentuckians who understand and appreciate the power of prayer to please join with me in praying for the family, friends and co-workers of the Pikeville coal miner who tragically lost his life on the job yesterday,” Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, said in a public statement.

Colleagues and friends on social media described Hatfield as a “good friend” and “great co-worker.”

Hatfield is survived by his wife, two daughters, a son and many other family members.

This is the first reported coal mine fatality in the United States in 2017. There were nine total coal mining deaths in 2016, according to MHSA.

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