One person dead, another trapped after Kentucky coal plant collapses

One man is dead and another is trapped after a structure collapsed at a coal preparation plant in eastern Kentucky Tuesday night.

Gov. Andy Beshear confirmed the death Wednesday morning. “Kentucky, we have some hard news to share from Martin County,” he said on X, formerly Twitter. “At least one of the workers trapped inside the collapsed coal preparation plant has died. Please pray for the family and loved ones of this individual.” The man has not been identified.

The structure, a roughly 12-story coal dump used to load coal for transport, was being dismantled by workers when it collapsed, reports The Mountain Citizen, a newspaper in Martin County. The men were on the ground floor and were buried under tons of rubble.

Rescuers said they had made contact with the trapped man, but had not yet been able to free him.

Martin County Sheriff John Kirk told The Mountain Citizen the effort could take days. Authorities would not speculate on the cause of the collapse.

“They all have one goal and they all risk their lives,” Sheriff Kirk said of the rescuers. “Unless you see for yourself what the scene entails, you cannot understand the danger involved in this recovery.”

“This is a lot of rubble; in a coal preparation plant you have steel and concrete,” Sheriff Kirk said in an interview aired on WSAZ news. “The building collapsed all around them.”

Mr. Beshear declared a state of emergency in the county on Wednesday. The order will mobilize state resources to assist in rescue efforts.

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