One dead, one trapped in building collapse at shuttered Kentucky coal plant: Officials


(NEW YORK) — One worker is dead and rescue efforts are underway to locate another after an 11-story building collapsed Tuesday night at a shuttered coal plant in eastern Kentucky, officials said.

The coal sorting structure at Martin Mine Prep Plant in Martin County collapsed at approximately 6:30 p.m. ET, according to Kentucky Emergency Management.

Two workers became trapped “underneath multiple floors of concrete and steel,” the agency said in a statement.

Rescue efforts have been underway since Tuesday night. Emergency workers located one of the workers and spoke with him, though he has since died, according to Marion County Sheriff John Kirk. First responders have been unable to locate the other worker, Kirk said.

“We still are attempting to locate him, we are still considering [this] a rescue operation,” Kirk told Charleston, West Virginia, ABC affiliate WCHS on Wednesday.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has declared a state of emergency in Martin County to mobilize state resources.

“Kentucky, keep praying — but the scene is bad and we should be prepared for tough news out of Martin County,” Beshear said in a statement.

Multiple agencies have responded to the scene and are assisting in rescue efforts, including the National Guard’s Special Tactics Squadron K-9 search dog unit.

The two workers were helping demolish the building at the abandoned mine site on Wolf Creek, according to Martin County Judge/Executive Lon Lafferty.

Lafferty said in a social media post early Wednesday that he declared a local state of emergency in Martin County to help access additional rescue resources.

State Sen. Phillip Wheeler, whose district includes Martin County, said he is “deeply saddened” by news of the deadly collapse.

“This incident is a stark reminder of the inherent risks in any job and the unexpected nature of tragedy,” he said in a statement. “We are prepared to assist those affected by loss or injury and their families and the local government in any way we can.”


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