Police investigating accidental mine death of Schuylkill County man

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PORTER TOWNSHIP, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) —  An investigation is underway Wednesday night into circumstances surrounding the death of a local coal miner. It happened Tuesday afternoon inside a mine near the Schuylkill/Dauphin County line.

It’s not often these days we hear about deaths in the mine in northeastern Pennsylvania but, sadly, tragedy happened in one at the top of that mountain here in this part of Schuylkill County.

At the top of Mountainside and Colliery Roads lies Williamstown Mine Number One, owned by Kimmel’s Mining Company. It sits high above a neighborhood in Williamstown which exists at the base of the mountain.

“We do observe the miners going up and down. We usually see them probably around 3:00 in the afternoon coming down and of course they’re covered in coal dirt,” Chelsea Wetzel of Williamstown said.

But on Tuesday afternoon, one of those miners didn’t come down alive. Investigators say 37-year-old Daniel Shoener was working 1,000 feet below surface when a rock fell on him and trapped him.

“I noticed the emergency vehicles vehicles going up the hill,” Wetzel said.

Rescue crews freed Shoener but it was too late. Police say he died from blunt force trauma. DEP officials and representatives of the mine were back on the scene 24 hours after the fatality but declined comment.

“And it’s very tragic and my family, I grew up in this area and I know way, way back my family was in the mines and they were coal miners and it’s kind of phased out where there are only a few gentlemen that do this anymore and it is very dangerous,” Wetzel said.

Pennsylvania State Police are treating this case as an accidental death investigation.

Besides state police and DEP, Mine Safety and Health Administration, and Pennsylvania Bureau of Mine Safety are part of the investigation.

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