Mine Worker Killed In Knox County Mine

By: Mike McCarthy
By: Mike McCarthy

Mascot (WVLT) -- Federal investigators are trying to figure out why a contractor fell to his death in a Knox County mine.

The glow of the moon and emergency lights revealed silhouettes at Mascot's Immel Zinc Mine, where several miners had gathered in the midst of a terrible accident.

It was just after midnight on Sunday morning, and down inside the zinc mine's main shaft their co-worker has fallen to his death.

"It's a tragic situation and it affects everyone," said George Korda, a spokesman for the mine's owner, East Tennessee Zinc Company. "It was a contract employee that was employed by a mining and engineering firm that was working on this project."

Immel mine closed in 2001, but the contractor was part of a three man team working to reactivate it by replacing structural steel in the mine shaft.

"They were all at work when the when the accident occurred," Korda said.

East Tennessee Zinc Company owns the mine along with two more in Jefferson County.

Company spokesman George Korda says they don't know what caused the accident or how far he fell, but the other two workers are fine.

"Everyone at East Tennessee Zinc is broken hearted about this and everyone's thoughts and prayers are going out to the family," Korda said.

This marks the first death at a Tennessee mine this year.

According to the US Department of Labor, since 1996 there have been 19 deaths in mines across the state.

Two of those death's were in coal mines, the rest in metal and non-metal mines.

To compare, Kentucky has six times more mine deaths over that time period, good for first in the nation.

Now it's up to the Federal Mine Safety and Health Administration to find out what caused this one.

According to Korda, East Tennessee Zinc Company doesn't mind the investigation.

"Information that will create an even more safe environment," he said.

The company says the investigation will go on for an indeterminate amount of time.

It says Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration has suspended all work to reactivate the mine, but says that's standard.

The company's other two mines in Jefferson County will stay open.

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  • by the miners bro-in-law Location: Morristown on Aug 6, 2007 at 06:00 PM
    he was one of the best guys i think i've ever known and even though hes not here in the flesh he'll always be in my heart and even though he left, all he left was good memories his loving brother-in-law Benji
  • by Brandy Location: Morristown on Aug 3, 2007 at 02:44 PM
    The man that was killed is my husband. He left behind two beautiful boys who were his entire life. Please keep us in your prayers.
  • by Suzanne Location: Middlesboro on Jul 31, 2007 at 05:50 AM
    This man was a wonderful cousin, father, son and brother! We have lots of great memories. Please remember our family in your prayers.
  • by Sandy Spetyla Location: Mooresburg on Jul 30, 2007 at 04:36 PM
    The young man was my ex-stepson, and his passing has been devastating to his dad and his sister Jeri, and step siblings, Keeley and Jesse. Remember his two little boys, his wife and his dad when you pray.
  • by Myra Location: White Pine on Jul 29, 2007 at 10:48 PM
    My heart and prayers goes out for this family. I will request prayer at the church where I attend. May God be with and bless this family.
  • by Brian & Rebecca Marcum Location: Morristown on Jul 29, 2007 at 05:24 PM
    The man who died was our niece's husband. His family is trying to cope with this tragedy. He does leave behind a wife and two small children along with a host of other family members. Please pray for them during this difficult time.
  • by Tracy Location: Jefferson City on Jul 29, 2007 at 03:29 PM
    My brother worked with the young man that lost his life in this accident. My prayers go out to his family, he left behind two young children. East Tennessee Zinc has brought much needed jobs to this area but they really need to be heavily inspected for safety.


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