Kentucky Coal Plant Tragedy Unfolds

( – One man died after getting trapped beneath tons of steel and concrete when a building at an abandoned mine preparation plant in eastern Kentucky collapsed while being demolished, the Associated Press reported.

The Martin Mine Prep Plant’s 11-story coal preparation plant in eastern Martin County collapsed on Tuesday at about 6:30 p.m., trapping two workers assisting with its demolition.

Rescue teams with cameras, search dogs, and listening devices searched the rubble for the men. Rescuers made contact with one of the men and were able to enter the rubble to extricate him. However, the man died a short time later as the search for the second man continued.

At a press conference at the site on Wednesday, Martin County Judge Executive Lon Lafferty told reporters that while the search for the second man was still ongoing, “the situation does not look good.”

According to Lafferty, the two men were working on demolishing part of the abandoned site at the time of the collapse and both were trapped beneath a “tremendous pile of rubble.”

The Martin Mine Prep Plant has not been in use for several years. According to officials, the two men were on the bottom level when the building collapsed.

In a post on X Wednesday morning, Governor Andy Beshear said a state of emergency had been declared in Martin County so state resources could be mobilized to assist in the rescue effort.

Officials said the search could take days given the amount of concrete and metal, and the very tight spaces.

Lexington Fire Department Special Operations Battalion Chief Chris Ward said rescue workers have been searching the rubble with search dogs and cadaver dogs. The two men were part of a large crew that was working on the ground level at the time of the collapse. Rescue workers are coordinating with one eyewitness to identify primary search areas.

According to Chief Ward, rescue crews are using cameras and listening devices to try to search the voids to get an idea of where the missing worker might be.

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