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A Boone County coal miner died Monday after sustaining fatal injuries while working at Panther Mining LLC’s American Eagle Mine, in Dawes, according to a Monday afternoon news release from Gov. Jim Justice.

Taylor Meldin Halstead was 20 years old. He is the 25th person in America to die while mining so far this year, according to the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration

“It’s just incredibly sad, especially when you see someone that young,” said Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper. “I don’t know the particulars, and it’s always easy to say this or that caused it, but mining has, and continues to be, a very dangerous profession.”

Lawrence Messina, spokesman for the West Virginia Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the state’s Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training, said Halstead was operating “a scoop, which is a piece of heavy equipment,” when he was struck by a water line and injured.

Messina said he had asked for additional information, but that was all that had been provided to him by 4:30 p.m. Monday.

Halstead is the second West Virginian to die from coal mining activity this year after a man was killed in February while working for a trucking company at Patriot Coal Corporation’s Federal No.2 mine, in Marion County.

Last September, another miner -- 40-year-old Steve Keeney -- also died at the Panther mine, in Dawes, while doing electrical work.

“Cathy and I are deeply saddened to learn that we lost one of our incredible West Virginia coal miners today. This is especially devastating news so close to the Thanksgiving holiday. We can never appreciate our miners enough for the brave and important work they do every day to power our homes, state, and nation,” Justice wrote in his news release. “Cathy and I ask everyone across the state to join us in praying for Taylor’s family and friends during this difficult time.”

Reach Caity Coyne at, 304-348-7939 or follow @CaityCoyne on Twitter.