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Rescue underway to save workers trapped in Ky. coal plant collapse

Rescuers are in contact with one worker buried in the collapse of a multi-story plant in Martin County

By Christopher Leach
Lexington Herald-Leader

MARTIN COUNTY, Ky. — Two workers were trapped inside a collapsed coal preparation plant in Eastern Kentucky Wednesday morning, according to Gov. Andy Beshear.

The collapse happened around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at a coal preparation plant in Martin County that is more than 10 stories near the middle fork of Wolf Creek, according to WYMT, a CBS affiliate in Eastern Kentucky. Workers were preparing the structure for demolition when it collapsed.

Officials have established communication with one of the trapped workers but not the other, according to Martin County Judge-Executive Lon Lafferty.

Beshear has declared a state of emergency to assist with rescue operations.

“A number of teams are working to rescue these individuals,” Beshear said in a statement posted to X Wednesday morning. “The Order mobilizes state resources to help.”

Martin County Sheriff John Kirk told WYMT the two workers were on the bottom floor when the collapse happened, trapping them underneath tons of rubble. The rescue could be a multiple-day operation and many other fire departments and agencies are assisting at the scene.

“Kentucky, please join Britainy (Beshear) and me in praying for their safety and for the brave teams working to rescue them,” Beshear said in his statement. “We will share more information as available.”

Kentucky State Police and the Martin County Sheriff’s Office weren’t immediately available for comment Wednesday morning.

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