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Governor and First Lady Justice issue statement on death of coal miner in Wyoming County

CHARLESTON, WV — Gov. Jim Justice and First Lady Cathy Justice issued the following statement today after learning of the death of a coal miner in Wyoming County. 

Virgil Paynter, of Lynco, was fatally injured Thursday morning at the CM Energy Operations LP Surface Mine in Wyoming County while operating an excavator. This marks the first coal mine fatality in West Virginia in 2024.

“This is truly a heartbreaking tragedy because we lost another incredible West Virginia hero,” Gov. Justice said. “We should all be grateful for Mr. Paynter’s service, just as we should be thankful for all the miners across our state and country. We really can’t appreciate our miners enough for their work, which powers and creates steel for our homes, state, and nation. This is a tragedy beyond belief, and Cathy and I will keep this man and his loved ones in our prayers. We ask you to join us.”

The West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health, Safety, and Training and the Mine Safety and Health Administration are at the mine site and will be conducting an investigation.