Kentucky coal miner dies in southern West Virginia

THACKER, W.Va. (AP) – West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice says a Kentucky coal miner has died in an incident in the southern part of the state.

Justice says 73-year-old William Mapes of Freeburn, Kentucky, died Sunday. Mapes had 53 years of mining experience.

The governor says he was working as a contractor for LSM Contracting near Central Appalachian Mining LLC’s Grapevine South Surface Mine in Mingo County, along the Kentucky border.

The governor’s statement did not include details of the incident. It’s the first reported U.S. coal mining fatality of the year.

There were at least 10 coal mining-related deaths nationwide last year, including four in West Virginia and two each in Kentucky and Pennsylvania, according to the Mine Safety and Health Administration.

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