Mining Death in Harlan County

Rex Coal Co. mine site of accident

FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 31, 2019) – A 48-year-old coal miner passed away Thursday from injuries sustained in an accident on May 22 at a Harlan County mine. Felix (Matt) North, of Miracle, Ky., a miner operator with 12 years of experience, had suffered critical injuries at the Rex Coal Co. mine CVB#1 in Cumberland, Ky.

North, who began his shift at 2 p.m., was operating a continuous miner and positioning the machine’s cable and water line when the rib (wall) unexpectedly collapsed, causing injuries to his lower body. He was transported to Johnson City Medical Center where he remained in critical condition.

The Kentucky Department for Natural Resources, Division of Mine Safety, sent investigators to the site following the accident. All mining operations were shut down and remained closed until May 28, when the Division of Mine Safety approved an action plan submitted by the mine.

“We are heartbroken to learn of the passing of a Kentucky coal miner, Matt North, who was critically injured last week in an accident in Harlan County,” said Gov. Matt Bevin. “Citizens across Kentucky stand united in support of Matt’s family, friends and the entire Southeast Kentucky community as they mourn this tragic loss.

“To all those who recognize the power and comfort that comes from Divine intercession, I ask that you pray for peace and healing for each person affected by the untimely death of this hardworking man.”

The Division of Mine Safety began an inspection of the mine in April. It is ongoing.

“My deepest sympathies go out to the North family,” Kentucky Energy and Environment Secretary Charles G. Snavely said. “We work every day to keep miners safe and make mining a fatality free occupation.”