kenamerican copyUPDATE: MUHLENBERG COUNTY, Ky. (8/5/19) — Recovery efforts have been called off at KenAmerican Resources near Central City for the worker that is presumed dead after a July 31 explosion at the mine.

A state Energy and Environmental Cabinet spokesman said efforts to clear the 380-foot mine elevator shaft of methane gas allowed officials to lower a camera several times, which did not locate the body of 62-year-old Richard L. Knapp.

Mine owners decided to halt the recovery attempts due to safety concerns for rescue workers.

Gov. Matt Bevin commented on the accident today.

"We were deeply saddened to learn of the tragic accident at the Paradise Mine in Muhlenberg County," Bevin said in a statement. "Our dedicated coal miners and mine workers do so much every day to keep our communities running strong. As Kentuckians, we want to offer our prayers and support to Mr. Knapp's family, friends and co-workers during this very difficult time."

Knapp, an employee of Fricke Managment and Contracting of Murphysboro, Illinois, was constructing a form that would be filled with concrete in an effort to seal and close the idled mine.

Energy and Environmental Cabinet officials said Knapp fell into the opening of the shaft after the second of two methane explosions.

SurfKY News

UPDATE: MUHLENBERG COUNTY, Ky. (8/2/19) — Recovery efforts continue today at KenAmerican Resources, where a worker fell into a mine shaft in the late afternoon Wednesday.

Officials said 62-year-old Richard L. Knapp, who is a welder/iron worker for Fricke Management and Contracting from Murphysboro, Illinois, fell into the shaft as a result of a methane explosion in the shaft.

Late this afternoon, Amy Louviere with the Mine Safety and Health Administration in Washington, D.C. said officials continue working to make the shaft safe for entry.

"The Mine Safety and Health Administration offers its deepest condolences to the victim’s family. Officials are working swiftly in the recovery effort and have installed a fan to establish ventilation in the mine shaft to remove explosive gas quantities. Once it is determined that the area is safe, recovery efforts can continue," said Louviere.

Rita Dukes Smith

SurfKY News Director

Region 3 Vice President

UPDATE: MUHLENBERG COUNTY, Ky. (8/1/19) —Amy Louviere with the Mine Safety and Health Administration has confirmed a fatality at KenAmerican Resources. MSHA officials are conducting a full investigation, she said.

KenAmerican Resources released the following statement this afternoon:

"KenAmerican Resources, Inc. (“KenAmerican”) confirms that an incident occurred on
July 31, 2019, in which an employee of a contractor, Fricke Management & Contracting, Inc. (“FMC”), suffered injury while working to recover equipment from a shaft and prepare it to be sealed. KenAmerican and FMC express great sadness at this event and offer their deep and sincere condolences to family members.

"KenAmerican’s Paradise No. 9 Mine has been idled since February 23, 2019, due to
market conditions.

"This matter is currently being investigated, and we will continue to work closely and
diligently with appropriate authorities. We are committed to ensuring that safety remains the absolute highest priority across all of our operations."

ORIGINAL STORY:

MUHLENBERG COUTY, Ky. (8/1/19) — A man working to fill in a mine shaft with concrete fell into the shaft as the result of a methane gas explosion late yesterday afternoon near Central City.

Officials from the Kentucky Energy and Environmental Cabinet, U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration and KenAmerican Resource owner is on the site of the KenAmerican Paradise Mine as attempts to recover the worker continue.

The employee of Fricke Management and Contracting from Murphysboro, Illinois was making a form that would be used to fill in a mine shaft with concrete as part of efforts to close the mine.

At approximately 5:30 p.m., Richard L. Knapp, 62, who is a welder/iron worker, fell into the shaft as a result of the methane explosion in the shaft.

Recovery efforts continue. All operations at the mine were shut down after the accident and remain closed.

SurfKY News has reached out to the KenAmerican Resources media contact for more information and is awaiting a reply.

Muhlenberg Emergency Management Agency Keith Putnam said no one is allowed on the mine property or to park on company property. No other information was available from his office at this point.

Rita Dukes Smith
SurfKY News Director

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