The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

August 1, 2013

Mechanic killed at mine site

BRUSH VALLEY — A Latrobe man was killed Wednesday morning when he was crushed under the body of a 33-ton rock truck at a Brush Valley Township surface mine, investigators said.

Amerikohl Mining Inc. mechanic Steelyn G. Kanouff, 26, was attempting to repair a leak on the front strut of a Caterpillar 773E when he was pinned between the truck and one of its large tires, Indiana County Chief Deputy Coroner Jerry L. Overman Jr. said.

The damaged strut “gave out,” crushing the man to death, Overman said, adding that Kanouff received fatal head and chest injuries.

An examination of the truck will be needed to determine what caused the strut to malfunction, Overman said.

State police, Department of Environmental Protection mine inspectors and federal Mine Safety and Health Administration officials were investigating at the scene of the Oneida Road surface mine, DEP spokesman John Poister said.

MSHA’s involvement is standard protocal when serious mine accidents occur.

Poister said Kanouff was employed for the past seven years as an Amerikohl mechanic.

“The fatality occurred on mine property but not directly within the surface mining complex,” Poister added.

Butler-based Amierkohl operates the mine, which employs 42 people, according to Poister.

Amerikohl Mining officials did not return a call for comment. The company, which also operates a Stahlstown, Westmoreland County, office, describes itself as one of the state’s top surface mine coal producers, its website shows.

The company mines and prepares steam coal solely for sale to electricity companies, the site says.

Poister said the death is the state’s first mine-related fatality in 2013.

According to DEP’s website, the fatality marks the first in the bituminous region since June 2009.

Follow Tribune-Democrat reporter David Hurst on Twitter @tddavidhurst.

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