“The MSHA investigation confirms the factual findings of our own internal investigation—this roof fall was an unpredictable accident involving unforeseeable geological conditions,” said Kenny Murray, vice president of operations, Webster County Coal. Murray, a former MSHA senior executive and a recognized authority on mine safety, has conducted numerous investigations and served as the MSHA Lead Accident Investigator for the fatal mine fire accident at Aracoma in January 2006.

With regard to the citation issued by MSHA in conjunction with the report, Murray said: “At no time during its investigation did MSHA indicate this accident was preventable or Webster County Coal was in any way negligent. To the contrary, the MSHA report specifically acknowledges ‘[t]he Approved Roof Control Plan was being complied with at the time of the accident’ and ‘[t]he absence of any sign of ‘slips’ in the immediate roof gave no warning for the need to install supplemental or additional support.’ Furthermore, in its citation MSHA specifically found Webster County Coal was not negligent. In light of these facts, we strongly believe the citation issued by MSHA is not justified.”

Dotiki, the largest mine in Kentucky and one of the largest underground mines in the United States, employs more than 400 miners near Madisonville, Ky.