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Coal worker killed in Ky. mine methane explosion marks 5th fatality of 2019

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Coal worker killed in Ky. mine methane explosion marks 5th fatality of 2019

A coal miner was killed July 31 while working in a Kentucky mine owned by Murray Energy Corp., the fifth fatal coal mine accident recorded by the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration this year.

The accident at the Paradise #9 mine in Muhlenberg County was classified as an "ignition or explosion of gas or dust," but the administration has not yet released a report on the accident, according to a public notice. It was the third coal mining fatality in Kentucky so far this year, compared with one in 2018.

The Associated Press reported that a methane gas explosion in a coal shaft caused 62-year-old Richard Knapp, a welder and iron worker, to fall while he was building a form to help seal a mine shaft. Knapp worked for Illinois-based Fricke Management & Contracting.

The mine's operations shut down July 31 and remained closed as of the afternoon of Aug. 1, according to Kentucky Today, an online publication based in Louisville, Ky.

There were 12 coal mining fatalities in 2018, according to the administration.