West Virginia Miner Dies In State's First Reported Coal Fatality Of The Year

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A coal miner died Thursday after being injured while operating an excavator at a southern West Virginia mine, Gov. Jim Justice said.

Virgil Paynter, of Lynco, was operating an excavator at the CM Energy Operations LP surface mine in Wyoming County, Justice said in a news release. The statement said Paynter was “fatally injured” but did not include details.

The death is being investigated by the state Office of Miners' Health Safety and Training and the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration.

It was the first reported coal fatality of the year in West Virginia and the second nationally, according to the administration. The other coal mine-related death occurred in January in Pennsylvania. There were nine such U.S. deaths last year.