According to a report by the mine safety agency of Indiana, three men died of the personal injuries they received at a southern Indiana coal mine when a nylon sling used for transporting supplies up and down a shaft was caught, causing the bucket the men were riding in to tip, resulting in them plummeting to their deaths.
The report, released Monday, March 3, said that the bucket traveled down the shaft approximately 20 feet before a shackle attached to the sling got wedged in a mine shaft door, which caused the bucket to tip, sending the men falling about 550 feet.
The independent contractor constructing the mind shaft was cited by the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration for failure to ensure a worker was controlling the hoist during the bucket’s descent and the failure to require the workers to wear harnesses that could have potentially protected them from falling.
Frontier-Kemper Constructors Inc., received no citation for having the sling attached to the bucket, but the state’s report said a safety plan was submitted by the company to the MSHA on August 17 including a prohibition of the attachment of straps, lanyards, or rigging to the bottom of a bucket transporting people.
Donald McCorkle, deputy commissioner of the state mine bureau, said that it was a “shame” that such an accident had to occur before the company realized the practice needed to be banned.
The men killed in the accident were 38-year-old Cedar Bluff, Virginia native Christopher Todd Richardson, 66-year-old Greybull, Wyoming native Daniel McFadden, and 23-year-old Henderson Kentucky native Jarred A. Ashmore. McFadden was there to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the merger of Frontier and Kemper Constructors, which included touring the site. Ashmore and Richardson were managers for Frontier-Kemper.