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Mine Disasters in the United States

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Freeman United Coal Mining Company
Orient No. 6 Mine Roof Fall

Waltonville, Jefferson County, Illinois
July 9, 1986
No. Killed - 3

MSHA Final Investigation Report  (30.3 Mb)  PDF Format

See also: New Orient No. 2 Mine Explosion, Jan. 29, 1926
Orient Hoisting Accident, Sept. 17, 1926
Orient No. 2 Mine Explosion, Dec. 21, 1951
Orient No. 5 Mine Explosion, Aug. 15, 1968

On July 9, 1986, most Orient No. 6 miners were on vacation.  Rather than continue coal production during this period, remaining crews rehabilitated several underground areas by spot bolting, conducting general clean-up operations, and cutting roof for the construction of overcasts in preparation for future development.

At approximately 11:10 a.m. as a continuous mining machine was cutting down roof for an overcast, the roof suddenly collapsed with little warning.

The collapse covered and killed three foremen, who had been watching the work from the entry.  Fortunately, however, the operator of the continuous mining machine escaped the fall.

MSHA investigators concluded that vibrations from the continuous mining machine had disturbed the roof.  The accident occurred because supplemental roof supports had not been installed across the openings of the travelway prior to the initiation of cutting operations.

Accident victims:
  • Kenneth D. Hartford, 37, Shift Mine Manager
  • Robert Ray Perry, Sr., 52, Section Foreman
  • Robert Ray Perry , Jr., 32, Section Foreman

Historical Summary of Mine Disasters in the United States - Volume II

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