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Virginia mine cave-in kills equipment operator

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A cave-in inside of a Giles County, Va., mine killed one man Monday afternoon and injured another worker, according to the county’s emergency services department.

The incident occurred at the Lhoist Chemical Mine Plant on Big Stony Creek Rd. in Ripplemead, an expansive backcountry industrial site where limestone is extracted and processed.

Jon Butler, Giles County’s emergency services coordinator, said authorities received an emergency call around 4 p.m. Upon arriving, they learned that a machine excavator inside the Lhoist mine had been “engulfed by materials” which capsized the excavator and trapped its operator inside its cab.

After emergency workers and mine employees entered the mine, they found the machine operator had been killed. Another worker was treated on the scene for chemical burns he suffered while attempted to rescue his colleague.

Neither worker was identified by authorities and no other injuries were reported.

The mine will remain shut down while the incident is under investigation, Butler said.

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