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COAL MINE FATALITY - Tuesday, August 27, 2002, a 40-year-old coal auger operator died after he entered a 30-inch diameter auger hole that he was drilling. The auger had penetrated two previously drilled auger holes. The victim entered the hole to determine the angle and depth of the previously drilled holes. The auger hole he entered had penetrated the coal seam 144 feet. He was apparently overcome by the lack of oxygen approximately 120 feet into the hole. Two co-workers tried to rescue the victim but became dizzy and had to exit the hole.

Photo of Accident Scene

Best Practices

  • Never enter an auger hole.
  • Barricade, block or backfill auger holes to prevent unauthorized entry.
  • More Information E-mail Suggestion for Accident Prevention Program Submit your own suggestion for a remedy to prevent this type of accident in the future.
    Please specify if you wish your submission to be anonymous or whether your name may be used. Please include the year of the fatality and the fatality number.

    This is the 21st fatal accident reported in calendar year 2002 for the coal mining industry. As of this date in 2001, there were 15 fatal accidents reported for the coal mining industry. This is the first fatal accident classified as "Other" in 2002. At this time in 2001, there were no fatal accidents classified as "Other" for the coal mining industry.

    The information provided in this notice is based on preliminary data ONLY and does not represent final determinations regarding the nature of the incident or conclusions regarding the cause of the fatality.

    For more information:
    Fatal Alert Bulletin Icon MSHA's Fatal Accident Investigation Report