Gibson County Man Dies in Coal Mining Accident

Published 03/25 2014 04:49PM

Updated 03/25 2014 05:01PM

Mining coal requires hard labor and an inherent risk of serious injury is understood by all who mine underground. Joe Spurgeon knows the dangers of coal mining well, he did it for 42 years. "It's dangerous working conditions and they try to do what they can to make them a lot safer, but we still lose people. We lose them every year, union and non-union, and it's a tragedy," said Spurgeon.

Just about a mile from Spurgeon's house tragedy strikes at Gibson County Coal Company in Princeton, Indiana. The sign entering the coal site reads "136 days without a lost time accident," but that streak has come to an end as 41-year-old Timothy Memmer died while working underground early Tuesday morning. "I've seen a lot of people that has passed away underground and it's going to happen again. I hate to hear it every time because you know there's widows and orphans involved and family. You hurt and grieve for them because you've been through it and you know what they're going through," said Spurgeon

Gibson County Coal Company says Memmer was doing maintenance work on a piece of mining equipment underground when an unexpected movement of the equipment reulted in Memmer's death. According to the Indiana Bureau of Mines in 2013 Gibson Mine North produced nearly four million tons of coal, with 372 employees, and suffered 8 lost time accidents. For reference a nearby mine comparable in size in Petersburg suffered 32 lost time accidents. "Coal miners are all family. You're like you're all brothesr like you served in the armed forces," said Spurgeon. The Indiana Bureau of Mines says this death makes the second coal mining death in Indiana in the last five years.

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