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L.V. Coal Company
No. 4 Slope Rib Fall

Keffers, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania
July 25, 1995
No. Killed - 2

From the Google News Archives:  External Link
(news links open in a separate window) MSHA Final Investigation Report  External Link


On July 25, 1995, Allen Deeter, owner; Shawn Kelly, miner; and Byron Swartzlander, hoist operator; arrived at the mine between 7:00 a.m. and 7:15 a.m. for the start of their regular shift.  After the daily routine of pumping water from the slope haulage sump was completed, Deeter performed the preshift examination.  Upon completion he returned to the surface and entered his examination in the Preshift Mine Examiner's Report book.

Deeter informed the men that he intended to load and hoist approximately three cars of coal left from the previous day of mining.  They would then drill and blast the No. 1 Chute off the third level East Gangway.

At approximately 10:00 a.m., Deeter and Kelly were lowered via gunboat to the third level East Gangway.  Work proceeded as planned with Swartzlander hoisting three cars of coal from the mine.

At approximately 11:00 a.m., Deeter returned to the gunboat at the slope bottom and instructed Swartzlander to hoist him up the slope about 100 feet to retrieve a hatchet.  After retrieving a hatchet, Deeter was lowered back to the third level East Gangway.  Exiting the gunboat at the landing platform, Deeter then instructed Swartzlander to lower the gunboat into the coal loading position.

Moments later, Swartzlander heard Deeter shouting for help over the voice activated communication system.  Swartzlander attempted to contact Deeter several times through both communication systems, but received no response.  Swartzlander drove to Deeter's house, about two miles away and informed Mrs. Donna Deeter, Allen Deeter's wife, of an emergency at the mine.  Mrs. Deeter telephoned 911, and the emergency response system was activated.

MSHA, State, and Anthracite Underground Rescue, Inc. (AUGR) personnel were dispatched to the mine and a joint rescue and recovery operation was started.  The bodies were recovered and transported to Pottsville Hospital and Warne Clinic, Pottsville, Pennsylvania.  Autopsies preformed by the Schuylkill County Coroner determined death to both victims was due to traumatic asphyxia.

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