Miner Missing in Harlan County

Published 4:35 pm Monday, March 21, 2022

A search is underway Monday for a 33-year-old coal miner who was working at the D-29 Darby Fork Mine, in Holmes Mill, Harlan County, when the roof collapsed. The mine is owned by Inmet Mining LLC, of Knoxville, Tennessee.

James D. Brown, of Lynch, Kentucky, a roof bolter operator with 13 years of experience, began his shift at 10 p.m. Sunday, according to a press release from the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet. Brown was working about 14,000 feet underground when the roof collapsed, about an hour later.

“The Kentuckians who go into mines daily to provide the coal that helps power this country face particular dangers and deserve our gratitude,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “Britainy and I are praying for the miner and his family – we all hope for his safe recovery.”

All mine operations were shut down after the accident and will continue to be suspended Monday while the search continues. The Kentucky Department for Natural Resources, Division of Mine Safety, sent investigators to the mine early Monday morning.

“Our sincere hope is that Mr. Brown is found safe,” Kentucky Energy and Environment Secretary Rebecca Goodman said. “We will then begin the process of examining what happened at this mine and how it could have been prevented.”