Buchanan County

Miner killed in Southwest Virginia in 2014

BUCHANAN CO., Va. - According to Tarah Kesterson with the Department of Mines Minerals and Energy, a miner was killed in Buchanan County at the the Dominion Coal Corporation Number 30 Mine Friday afternoon.

Kesterson said 24-year-old Arthur David Gelenster was operating a continuous miner when it happened around 3:42 p.m.

A continuous miner is a machine that extracts coal.

Kesterson said Gelenster was in what is known as the Red Zone -- an area miners are not supposed to enter. He was pinned by the equipment.

According to Kesterson, Gelenster has been an operator of a continuous miner for three years, but had only worked at that mine since 2013. He leaves behind two children.

The last mining fatality in Virginia was in 2012. The last Red Zone fatality for Virginia was in 2003.

Company officials released this statement:

     "We are saddened to report the loss of one of our Dominion 30 
     employees in an accident at the mine earlier this afternoon.
     Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family during this difficult time.

     "He is the only employee that was injured in the incident.
     "A complete investigation is underway, and we are fully cooperating
     with MSHA and DMME in responding to this situation."

          - Jim Mullins – Vice President of Coal Operations, Jewell Smokeless Coal

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