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A miner working to support the roof at a southern West Virginia underground coal mine died Monday after part of the mine’s wall collapsed, officials said.

Crew leader Joseph M. Cassell, 33, of Glen Daniel, WV, was working at Rhino Eastern’s Eagle No. 1 near Bolt when a 100-inch-high, 32-foot-long piece of the wall crushed him, said Amy Louviere, a spokeswoman for the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).

Cassell was preparing to set roof support timbers and was shoveling along the mine wall about 1 a.m. Monday when he the wall fell, said Leslie Fitzwater, a spokeswoman for the West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health Safety and Training.

The death was West Virginia’s third mining fatality, and the nation’s seventh, this year.

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Lexington, Ky.-based Rhino Resource Partners, the majority owner of the Raleigh County mine, said it idled the operation during the investigation. Rhino said it is cooperating with state and federal investigators to determine the cause of the accident.

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