Victim of a fatal Knox County mine collapse identified

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Federal officials have identified the man killed in a fatal Knox County mine collapse that also injured two others.

A preliminary report from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety & Health Administration identifies the victim as 68-year-old Gerald Turbyville, who had worked more than a decade at the mine.

Two other miners were also injured in the collapse at the Nyrstar Immel mine in Knox County on Tuesday, July 13. Those workers were brought to the surface by mine rescue personnel and transported to a local hospital. One worker has since been released.

The report says Turbyville, a scaling operator, was killed when he was struck by falling rock while performing scaling operations at the mine. Scaling is defined as the removal of loose rock from the roofs and walls of a mine by manual or mechanized means.

The report is based on preliminary data and does not represent the final determination of the nature of the incident or conclusions regarding the cause of the accident, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

According to data collected by the Centers for Disease Control, a systematic review of recent MSHA accident and fatality reports for underground metal/nonmetal mines revealed that nearly a quarter of all fatalities were related to rock falls and approximately one-third of all accidents involved scaling.

Nyrstar operates a processing plant and three underground zinc mines in East Tennessee: Young, Coy and Immel. The three mines are located in and around Knox and Jefferson Counties.

The fatal collapse marked the second fatal incident at the Nyrstar Immel Mine this year. Cody Maggard, a 26-year-old underground chute puller, died on Feb. 22. Brandon Roski, 35, was killed May 18 at the Young Mine in Jefferson County.

The Nyrstar Immel Mine was issued three citations for violating federal regulations in the week leading up to the July 13 collapse.

Nyrstar issued a statement of sympathy to the miner’s family and friends on Tuesday. The Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration is conducting an investigation into the incident.

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