Family remembers 26-year-old after deadly zinc mining incident in Strawberry Plains

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KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) — A 26-year-old man died while working at the Immel Mine on Monday. The mine, which sits off Mascot Road in Strawberry Plains, is one of three underground zinc mining locations in East Tennessee operated by Nyrstar.

A general manager with the company confirmed the news in a release Wednesday, which reads in part:

“Nyrstar regrets to confirm that Monday February 22nd an incident at the Immel Mine within its East Tennessee operations led to a colleague tragically losing his life while performing his duties…The company extends its deepest sympathies to the family, friends and colleagues of the employee who had worked at the mine for almost 5 years. Nyrstar is offering counseling and other support to colleagues who have been affected by this tragic incident.”

We’ve confirmed from close family the miner is Cody Maggard, from Corbin, Ky.

His mother, Roxie Jackson, described him as a big teddy bear, who was easy-going, funny, a jokester, and a little shy. She said her son was all about family and loved his wife of four years.

Jackson also described him as a hard worker. Maggard drove more than 160 miles back and forth to the mine from his home in Corbin, Ky. She said he liked the job and took safety seriously.

While she understands accidents happen, as a mom, she says she needs to know more about how it happened.

“I want to know why this happened, how this happened, you know, I just want to know why,” she said. For closure, she would like to know the specifics including if he was hurt, if he suffered, and whether the incident was caused by equipment failure.

As to the cause, the company news release also says the possible cause is unknown and the company is “undertaking a review of the accident and is cooperating fully with the relevant authorities.”

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