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Kentucky coal building collapse kills one man, another missing

Published 11/01/2023, 01:27 PM
Updated 11/01/2023, 08:11 PM
© Reuters.

(Reuters) -The collapse of an idle coal-sorting building in Kentucky killed one man and trapped another man under the rubble, authorities said on Wednesday.

The 11-story structure at the Martin Mine Prep Plant in Martin County caved in on Tuesday evening, the Kentucky Emergency Management agency said in a statement. The two workers were trapped underneath multiple floors of concrete and steel.

Authorities did not say what caused the collapse of the building, which has not been in use for several years. The men were inside the building, carrying out work to dismantle it.

Governor Andy Beshear confirmed on social media that one of the two trapped workers was dead. The governor issued a state of emergency for Martin County, which mobilizes state resources to assist at the scene.

Martin County Sheriff John Kirk said rescuers had been speaking with one of the trapped men, but that he subsequently died. The other missing man has not been found in the rubble.

"We still are attempting to locate him," Kirk said of the missing man. "We are still considering it a rescue operation."

Officials said at an afternoon press conference at the site of the collapse in eastern Kentucky near the border with West Virginia that they continued searching for the missing man.

Lon Lafferty, Martin County's judge executive, the top elected official, said "as of right now, the situation doesn't look good."

"But we haven't given up hope on the second worker," Lafferty said, adding the scene was "horrific."

"I remember being in New York after 9/11, and those images that you see there, it's kind of what you see," Lafferty said.

Jeremy Slinker, the state director of emergency management, said urban search and rescue teams from around Kentucky had arrived to help local rescuers in their search for the missing man, with whom they have had no contact.

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